According to reports from overseas, the New Jersey Devils may be quite close to inking center Andrei Loktionov to a one-year contract extension. Loktionov was acquired by the Devils on Feb. 6 for a fifth-round pick in this summer’s NHL entry draft.
In January, the 23-year-old Russian had asked the Los Angeles Kings for a trade due to a lack of playing time. When he arrived in the Garden State, he expressed a strong desire to play in the NHL on a full-time basis.
Initially, he started his tenure in New Jersey with the team’s AHL affiliate in Albany, but was quickly brought up when forward Dainius Zubrus injured his wrist. The youngster was one of the few bright spots for the Devils in the disastrous second half of the shortened season. In 28 games, he scored eight goals and notched four assists. When the Devils failed to make the playoffs for the second time in three years, Loktionov represented Russia in the 2013 World Championships, which were held earlier this spring in Sweden and Finland.
The announcement of a possible signing came from Russian journalist Dmitry Chesnokov who tweeted yesterday that Loktionov and the Devils were close to a deal. He cited his source as the center’s agent Igor Laronov.
“I spoke with the New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello,” Laronov apparently said in an interview with Chesnokov. “We agreed to a new one year contract for Loktionov. I have just sent a text message to Andrei. I am waiting for his answer. The probability of the signing in 99 percent.”
Since the tweet was first reported yesterday afternoon, there has not been any official word from the Devils or Loktionov regarding a deal.
Loktionov was drafted by the Kings in the 2008 draft. He was the 123rd pick. He was also a junior teammate of Devil forward Adam Henrique who is also set to become a restricted free agent this summer.