February 6, 2013 3:32 pm

Loktionov to New Jersey

Andrei Loktionov is a New Jersey Devil. The Los Angeles Kings traded the center to New Jersey in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. This ends the Los Angeles career of a player selected in the fifth round of 2008, and who had requested a trade, according to several reports between September and January. Loktionov appeared in 59 games over parts of three seasons in L.A., recording 14 points (7-7=14). He auditioned for and was eventually passed over in a role to replace a concussed Kyle Clifford in the playoffs a season ago and appeared in two games against Vancouver in the first round without accumulating as many as 10 minutes of ice time between the two games. He will be assigned to AHL-Albany, per the Devils.

Loktionov has an appealing amount of skill that hasn’t yet translated consistently to the NHL level. Though he has the reputation of being a responsible forward, he’s not exactly a bottom six type, and with Anze Kopitar (signed through 2016) and Mike Richards (signed through 2020) manning the top two center spots, along with the off-season extensions of Jarret Stoll (through 2015) and Colin Fraser (through 2014), there simply wasn’t any place for Loktionov to earn a role.

His most promising campaign was his 20-year old season of 2010-11, when he recorded seven points in 19 games before an assignment to Manchester in which he injured his shoulder when it appeared he might be on the verge of a call-up. Since then, he hasn’t been able to stick in L.A.

Loktionov had a brief role on a line alongside Dustin Brown and Mike Richards in the first half of last season. “They’re good players. They can find me anywhere. I just have to leave my stick on the ice and open up,” he said at the time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite that easy.

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