In 2008, the Los Angeles Kings used the 5th-round draft choice to select him and today, in a way, the defending champions are getting that 5th-rounder back.
Earlier today, the Kings traded disgruntled forward Andrei Loktionov to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 5th-round draft selection. In usual circumstances, if a player requests a trade, which Loktionov did, teams shouldn’t hold their collective breath hoping for much in return. This was the case today.
Spanning three seasons with the organization, Loktionov’s time with the Kings lasted for 59 games where the Russian scored seven goals and added seven assists.
At 22, Andrei Loktionov has plenty of time to develop into a bona fide NHLer but it just didn’t work out in Los Angeles. As a center, he was competing with Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Jarret Stoll for a permanent spot with the big club and as high-profile as those three are, especially considering how dangerous two of them are in the faceoff circle, Loktionov became more-or-less expendable unless he was content on spending the remainder of his professional career in the Kings’ farm system. Understandably, he wasn’t.
While it would be a stretch to call him a stigmatizing figure, Andrei Loktionov’s popularity fizzled (assuming he had much to begin with) once he requested a trade early this season. There were one or two occasions where it looked as if the Russian youngster had found his mark and would stick with the Kings for good. Unfortunately, with some injuries and a great deal of inconsistency, Loktionov’s future did not appear to be lying near the beaches of southern California.
Fortunately for Loktionov, his trade to the Devils means a new opportunity as his new team isn’t as deep at the center position as his old team is. Perhaps becoming teammates with fellow countryman Ilya Kovalchuk will help Loktionov’s confidence immensely, of course only time will tell determining whether or not that will actually happen.
So, it’s another day and another draft pick I suppose. I’d love to sit here and reminisce about the great moments Andrei Loktionov had with the Kings but there just weren’t any of them, at least none that I can recall.
I do wish the best of luck to Andrei Loktionov but the Los Angeles Kings have now ridded themselves of a disgruntled talent and have a draft pick to show for it. Not a bad deal if you ask me.