Andrei Loktionov played 39 games for the Kings last season, two shy of the required 41 to get his name on the Stanley Cup.
But, don’t confuse the issue here, that’s not what today’s story is about.
This boils down to playing time, something the highly skilled forward isn’t likely to see in Los Angeles anytime soon.
Deep at center, the Kings moved the 22-year old Russian over to the wing two seasons ago. And according to both the player and former coach Terry Murray, that was a failed experiment.
Originally selected in the fifth round of the 2008 draft, Loktionov has battled many highs and lows throughout his early North American career.
In the spring of 2009, his team won the Memorial Cup Championship. Loktionov recorded 33 points in 20 playoff games (second only to teammate and Oilers draft pick Taylor Hall) during the Windsor Spitfires’ run to junior hockey’s top prize.
He then made his NHL debut on November 25, 2009 in Edmonton – and promptly dislocated his shoulder, sidelining him the rest of the way.
The following season saw multiple call-ups from Manchester (AHL) after he initially started 2010-11 with the big club. In total, he posted four goals and three assists in 19 games with the Kings. Once again though, his season was cut short after surgery was needed to repair another shoulder injury.
Last year, he saw time with both the Kings and Monarchs, scoring three goals in 39 regular season NHL games. Loktionov also returned to LA for the playoffs and saw action in two games, recording zero points.
Thus far this season, he’s scored seven goals in 35 games with Manchester.
For now, that’s where he’ll remain.
However, likely realizing he’s on the outside looking in, it was confirmed to MayorsManor earlier today that Loktinov has requested a trade to another NHL team.
Interestingly, it was just three weeks ago that back-up goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who had previously requested a trade, was suddenly singing a slightly different tune.
“Nah, I want to play, that’s it,” said the 24-year old, when asked if he still wanted out of town.
“I can’t really do anything about it,” Bernier continued. “It has been two years since I’ve been in (this) situation. I just want to play. With the (compressed) schedule now, things can change a lot. Hopefully Suttsy can squeeze me in for a few.”
Fine, he did ask for a trade last year.
“It was on TV and they pretty much asked me the same question you guys ask all the time,” explained Bernier. “I just said I’d like to play more, and then the French media sometimes…It was actually at my Cup party, that they asked me if I’d like to play more. I said ‘Obviously, yes. If it’s not going to be in LA, it could be somewhere else’ and it went on from there. That’s when they said I wanted to get moved.”
So, wait, did he ask for a trade?
“Obviously if it’s not going to be here, like I’ve said, I just want to play.”
Those were, at the very least, some interesting answers because just a few months ago he opened up to MayorsManor about his trade request in an article here.
“Well, we all have eyes. We saw how well Quick played last year,” said Bernier, when reminded of the previous interview. “Since I’ve been here he’s been their guy. I think I’ve played in back-to-back games once in two seasons. Plus he just signed a long-term deal - which for me, doesn’t really mean anything because he doesn’t have a non-trade clause. But, at the same time it’s for ten years. So, if I look at it from the outside; there’s not much room for me to play.”
As for GM Dean Lombardi, he made his feelings about Bernier’s situation abundantly clear here.
Now, we’ll just have to wait for some thoughts about the Loktionov request. Although, it be a while, as the Kings’ GM is likely more concerned with finding a quality defenseman at the moment.
Or, perhaps the two stories are related.
We shall see.
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