NHL Rumors: Andrei Loktionov Headed To Russia?

By Randy Holt

There appears to be something of a situation brewing around the Los Angeles Kings and prospect Andrei Loktionov.

Loktionov, who is one of the top forward prospects in the Kings’ system was sent to the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL at the end of last week, when several teams began sending their young players to their affiliates.  But apparently Loktionov, who has just a small amount ofNHLexperience, has other plans.

Apparently Loktionov is unhappy with his situation in heading to Manchester.  He’s already spoken to a couple of clubs over in Russia, and could be on the verge of joining one of them during the lockout.  There are a couple of different issues with this.

First of all, this would result in a suspension for Loktionov from the AHL.  This would also violate one of the recent guildelines that the KHL set for bringing players over from North America.  It’s pretty vague, but players joining the Russian league were expected to have at least 150 games of NHL experience.  No less.

This isn’t the first time the Kings have had an unhappy Russian prospect.  Slava Voynov was reportedly close to jumping ship a couple of times.  However, he stuck it out, got his chance, and is now looking like he could be a breakout defenseman for LA once the lockout ends.

But this situation is going to be one to watch for Loktionov, the KHL, and the Kings.  We’ve seen this issue with prospects before, which is why teams have been hesitant to draft Russian talent.  I’m not trying to contribute to the wide  Russian stereotype, but Loktionov seems to be fitting into it pretty well right now.

Stay tuned.

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