This article will be another in my series of player profiles, where I review the season of every player on the Los Angeles Kings. This piece will focus on Nikolai Prokhorkin.
On paper, Prokhorkin had a somewhat slow first season in the NHL, scoring four goals and 14 points in 43 games, a pace of eight goals and 27 points per 82 games, after spending the beginning of the year with the AHL’s Ontario Reign. It wasn’t necessarily the level of production that may have been expected from him, considering how he was able to produce in the KHL, but he still made for a solid depth piece.
He had a strong cosi for percentage of 54.1 per cent while splitting his starts between the offensive and defensive zone evenly. While his quality of competition was below average, it was on par with the likes of Trevor Moore and Austin Wagner and higher than the level of competition that Michael Amadio and Trevor Lewis faced (according to Hockey Abstract).
There’s a case to be made that Prokhorkin could be more successful in a slightly larger role. He was playing just over 12 minutes per game this season, which was lower than even the majority of depth forwards on the team. He was also in and out of the lineup and was scratched throughout the season.
So when you factor in how small of a role he got, the fact that he managed a pace of 27 points per 82 was fairly decent. It’s quite a bit more impressive when you consider that he had a shooting percentage of just 6.3 per cent and the team’s shooting percentage while he was on the ice was just 5.7 per cent. With these numbers recovering to a normal level, his pace probably could have surpassed 35 points per 82.
Now in need of a new contract, it’ll be interesting to see what the Kings do with Prokhorkin. There was a report that Prokhorkin may opt to return to Russia next season, though this hasn’t been confirmed.
Little news from Russia...
SKA just traded rights for Prokhorkin to Metallurg. Hearing they're in talks on a 2-year deal.
Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times also reported that general manager Rob Blake doesn’t think he’ll have an issue re-signing his RFAs, which would include Prokhorkin, leading to the assumption that he’ll be returning next season. I’d imagine the Kings look to re-sign him to a one or two-year deal at a low AAV but considering he’ll already be 27 years old in September and the Kings have several other young forwards on the rise, he’s probably not part of Los Angeles’ long-term plan. As is the case with many other forwards on the team and in the system, you can bet he’ll be battling for ice time once again next season.
***NOTE: We've launched a HockeyBuzz Kings Twitter account! For anyone interested, you can follow @HB_LAKings for updates on articles, Kings news, etc. We're starting right from scratch, so any followers would be appreciated!***
Here’s today’s poll questions (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
What's your prediction for Nikolai Prokhorkin next season?