We truly never thought we’d be typing these words… Welcome to Los Angeles, old friend.
Even casual hockey observers could likely note that nearly every NHL prospect has a fascinating backstory if you take the time to dig in a little. Yet, how many of those players have a tale including legal action regarding their playing status or a seven-year gap between their NHL draft year and arriving in North America? Not many, that’s for sure. With his KHL contract expiring on April 30, word is 25-year-old Russian forward Nikolai Prokhorkin will be signing with the LA Kings imminently – they’re just working out some final details related to his European assignment clause.
One more LA Kings note…
Although the team is expected to announce a one-year ELC with Russian fwd Nicolai Prokhorkin soon, don't expect it to be today. Still working out a few details. Soon, though.
Hoping one of those details is official confirmation – Nicolai or Nikolay.
— John Hoven / The Mayor (@mayorNHL) May 1, 2019
In a recent article here we outlined some options of where Prokhorkin could possibly fit into the team’s opening night roster.
Additionally, we’ve pulled together 10 things you should know about him:
1. Draft History
He was drafted 26th overall by Vityaz Chekhov in the KHL draft in 2010, 58th overall by the London Knights in the 2012 CHL Import Draft, and 121st overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Through differing circumstances, he has yet to play a single game for any of the teams who have drafted him – though, clearly, the Kings intend to change that trend come October.
2. Familiar Face?
When he last played in North America, he played on the Kings then-AHL affiliate Manchester Monarchs. Tyler Toffoli and Derek Forbort are the only two Kings players still in the organization from that team. However, Forbort joined Manchester after Prokhorkin left, making Toffoli the only former stateside teammate Prokhorkin would recognize.
3. Organizational Ties Overseas
Speaking of Kings-related ties, Prokhorkin has had a few teammates familiar with the organization while playing overseas. That list includes Ilya Kovalchuk, former Kings draft pick Patrik Hersley, current Kings prospect Alexander Dergachyov, and Stanley Cup winner Slava Voynov.
4. Almost Pilfered
While he was in the KHL, he was allegedly approached by Toronto, Edmonton, and Calgary (as reported here), Prokhorkin stated he wanted to win something in the KHL first. He went on to win the Gagarin Cup (KHL Championship) in 2017 and Olympic Gold in 2018. His team also lost in the KHL Semifinals 4-3 to the eventual winners, CSKA Moscow, this season.
5. Partners in Crime
As mentioned above, he won Olympic gold for OAR in 2018. Prokhorkin had two goals in six games. Incidentally, both of Prokhorkin’s goals came in a 4-0 win over the United States. Want to guess who scored the other two goals in that game? Yes, Kovalchuk.
6. Gold (or Silver) Memory
While not a player connection, Kings assistant bench boss Marco Sturm coached Germany in the Olympics, who lost to OAR in the gold medal game, 4-3.
7. By the Numbers
If Prokhorkin stays in North America for the foreseeable future, his final statistics in the KHL include: 314 Games, 92 G, 94 A, 186 Points, 248 PIM, +106. In an additional 71 KHL playoff games, he picked up 30 more points (12 G, 18 A).
8. Personal Best
This season was the first time in his career Prokhorkin reached the point-per-game plateau, with 41 points (20G, 21A) in 41 games.
9. Streak Breaker
One of his goals this season ended a shutout streak by Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin (the third longest streak all-time in the KHL).
— KHL (@khl_eng) November 24, 2018
10. Season Highlights
A highlight reel of Prokhorkin’s 2018-19 season:
NOTE: David Hofreiter contributed in the preparation of this article
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