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Nikolai Prokhorkin leaves Kings for KHL

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A second time around with the Kings was too little, too late.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 9: Nikolai Prokhorkin #74 of the Los Angeles Kings looks on during the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at STAPLES Center on March 9, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NHLI via Getty Images

Nikolai Prokhorkin’s rookie season didn’t live up to expectations. The now 26-year-old signed with the Los Angeles Kings in May 2019 following a series of stand out performances with SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL. But 43 NHL games later, Prokhorkin tallied just four goals and 10 assists in a bottom-six role with the Kings.

SKA Saint Petersburg gave up Prokhorkin’s KHL rights to HC Metallurg Magnitogorsk during a three-way trade in early June. On Monday, Prokhorkin signed a two-year contract with Magnitogorsk. It seems unlikely that the Russian forward will come back to North America, given his career trajectory to this point.

Prokhorkin was initially drafted by the Kings with the last pick of the fourth round (121 overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. That fall, he signed a three-year entry-level contract with the team. Because he was drafted out of the KHL, he was eligible for AHL play, and was assigned to the Manchester Monarchs to start the season. After eight games, he terminated his contract with the Kings to return home to Russia, where he played for seven years between the KHL and a handful of games in the VHL.

Prokhorkin also represented Russia in the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang, scoring two goals in six games.

Ultimately, it seems like the Kings missed out on Prokhorkin’s prime years — between 2015 and 2019, where he put up 124 points over 186 games — a fact that stings even more so by the fact that he terminated his entry-level contract in order for them to do so. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2022. Maybe the third time will be the charm?