Why are people surprised at the Andrei Loktionov trade?

Just last week we told you that Andrei Loktionov had asked for a trade. Today, the Kings granted his wish, sending him to New Jersey for the Devils’ fifth round selection in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Instantly, some of the reaction from fans included things like ‘They gave him away’ or ‘What a terrible mistake by the Kings.’

Why? Where is this coming from?

First off, GM Dean Lombardi has his four centers under contract for the next several years. Up front, Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards are locked up long-term. And over the summer Jarret Stoll signed a three-year extension and Colin Fraser inked a two-year deal.

One could even argue that the Stoll and Fraser contracts were moot points in the final evaluation of Loktionov because he was never projected as a bottom-six center.

There’s also the failed move to wing that we wrote about in last week’s article. Loktionov didn’t like playing there and Kings’ management didn’t like his production after the move.

Speaking of stats though, in 39 NHL games last season, Loktionov scored three goals. For his entire career, he has seven goals in 59 games with the Kings.

In Manchester this season five other players have scored more goals than the 22-year old Russian forward.

Heck, he’s tied with defenseman Slava Voynov at seven goals for the Monarchs – and his countryman hasn’t played there for over a month.

Finally, there’s his contract to consider. He’ll be a restricted free agent this summer, when he could always opt to go back to Russia if he thought the money and/or playing time could be better.

In the end, LA used a fifth round pick at the 2008 draft to acquire Loktionov.  It didn’t work out and New Jersey gave Lombardi exactly what he paid for him.

So, will the Kings really regret trading a guy who didn’t want to be in the organization any more?

Doubt it.

For now, the Devils are sending Loktionov to Albany, where he’ll play for their AHL team.

Will he go on to become a high-scoring center in the NHL?

Again, doubt it.

But, we’d love to hear somebody make a reasonable case for it.


Andrei Loktionov asks for a trade, Bernier may be singing a different tune

Checking in with Loktionov – new skates, new attitude

Murray not impressed with Loktionov thus far, chance is now

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  1. You’re right that his time was up here and he didn’t fit, but he certainly has skill. There’s still a chance that this turns into a Moulson or Purcell situation where the player becomes a top 6 forward for another team. Either way though, it wasn’t going to happen in LA.

  2. I personally very happy with this move. We could have easily ended up with nothing for him. 5th round pick is a win for us in my opinion.

  3. There is only one player in NJ’s top 6 that is questionable and that is Dainus Zubrus but at least he has size and he’s a veteran. I can count on one hand the number of board battles I saw Loktionov win, he isn’t strong enough to succeed in the NHL. He got pushed around big time and it will continue to be the case. NJ has no good prospects at Center, so it’s just a depth move. Loktionov has to play in an offensive role, he can’t make it on a checking line. I’m pretty sure he’s a bust but at least we got something back for him.

  4. He seemed to have more potential than a 5th rounder. I would have liked to hold on to him for another season or two in the case of injury or trade collateral. But, Dean knows better than I do.

    • As the article said, his contract is up after this season.

      You can’t hold onto him for a season or two without resigning him. He is a flight risk to the KHL.

      He was a perishable asset for DL. Now, he’s a perishable asset for LL in Jersey.

  5. BobKnob2point0 says:

    I don’t think anyone is surprised he was traded, just that DL didn’t get enough for him. A draft pick is fine, it just needed to be lower. And it doesn’t matter what round he was drafted in in 2008. It has no bearing on his current value.


    The first fallacy in your article is that a team must have a bottom 6 comprised solely of big bodies and defensive minded players with limited offensive potential. It’s juts plain dogma at this point that this is how it should be.

    The second issue I have is the idea that we’re stuck with Fraser or Stoll for 2-3 years. Fraser is a few bad games away right now from being in a permanent doghouse (or at least he should be). He’s getting dominated out there. He’s a grinder with very limited skill and talents. Hard work simply cannot overcome any and all flaws in a player’s game and sooner rather than later he will be an obsolete NHL’er (I’ll put my money where my mouth is on this, if you would like a small friendly wager). Just because we signed him doesn’t mean we must keep him.

    Regarding Stoll, he’s a really good 3rd line center who gets paid too much to be a third line center. The cap is coming down next year and getting rid of center depth (Lokti) leaves us with fewer options should we need to unload salary or buy someone out. If I’m spending my 3.5 mil next year and had to choose between a 3rd line center who can’t stickhandle and likes to shoot high and wide, and a top 4 defensive minded defenseman, I’m putting my money on D all day every day.

    We also have the benefit of having Kopi, Richards (and less so Stoll) who already take a lot of the hard minutes and matchups (and are still effective in those matchups). Lokti could be used in a somewhat sheltered role and given good zone starts and easier matchups. A line of skilled young players, good at moving the puck would pose problems for most 3rd and 4th lines in the league.

    In case you don’t remember from last year, when Lokti centered Lewis and Richardson, their line was very effective at maintaining possession in the offensive zone and buzzing the net, largely due to Lokti’s playmaking abilities and the speed and board play of Lewis/Richie. Unfortunately, Lewis is an incredibly poor shooter and Richardson wasn’t that great either (who was last year?) so they scored maybe one goal combined. Many glorious scoring opportunities were wasted. Anyways, any player that can control play well will inevitably start racking up points. And even if they don’t, they’re still 200 ft away from their own net more often than not. Lokti is easily a useful NHL player. More so than Fraser imo.

    The 5th round produces very few NHL’ers. Maybe about 2 players on average become NHL players. Many aren’t worth a bag of pucks. That isn’t equal value for a player who was on the cusp of being an NHL player but was in an organization with excellent center depth and with a big body/defensive minded organizational philosophy.

    And one of your last points, about him not wanting to be here. Why would any player WANT to be here when they were handled like Lokti was? Keeping his name off the cup was a jerk move by DL, TL, et al.

  6. Paul Armbruster says:

    There’s also the addition by subtraction angle. With Lokti getting (unfairly) left off the Cup, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say there had to be some bitterness there. Lokti doesn’t strike me as the type who would overtly create an unease in the Manchester locker room, but I’d imagine with him gone (especially after the trade request) it only makes for a better atmosphere on the Monarchs as a whole at the very least. Could he have turned into a cancer? Sure. But by nipping this in the bud, Deano makes what could have been a worse situation a moot point. Solid deal all the way around. Good luck Andrei!

  7. BobKnob2point0 says:

    Lokti scored.



  1. […] – The fifth round draft pick sent to Florida was the same one Lombardi received earlier this week from New Jersey in exchange for Andrei Loktionov. […]

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