The Los Angeles Kings once saw Andrei Loktionov as an important part of their future. A solid two-way center and playmaker, he was a top prospect of theirs as recently as last season.
Then they traded him to the New Jersey Devils for what is, right now, the equivalent of a bag of pucks. In reality, it’s a fifth round pick in this summer’ draft. Essentially, the Kings traded him away for nothing. And the Devils are likely very glad that they did, given what they’ve seen so far.
In about a month, Loktionov has proven to be a very reliable player for the Devils. He’s been given an opportunity to succeed, and he has taken advantage of it.
Despite the fact that the Devils have struggled lately, due to their lack of goaltending and a variety of other factors, Loktionov has taken his game to the point where he’s centering the top line, next to Ilya Kovalchuk. Going from AHL player with the Kings to playing with a world class talent has to feel good.
In 11 games with the Devils, Loktionov has five points and a rating of minus-1. He’s been decent in the faceoff circle as well. But the most important part of his game that he brings to the ice is that ability to move the puck and make plays. As he grows more comfortable, there’s a good chance he could be even better.
If what we’ve seen recently is any indication, Loktionov is starting to become the player that the Kings had hoped he would. Too bad for them, he’s doing it with the New Jersey Devils.