Yesterday, Russian journalist Dmitry Chesnokov reported via twitter that center Andrei Loktionov was very close to re-signing with the New Jersey Devils. Chesnokov quoted Loktionov’s agent Igor Larionov as saying the following; “I spoke with New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello. 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 is 99%.”
Chesnokov first reported the story around 4:30 EST, on Tuesday. Since then, there has been no official announcement from the Devils, or Loktionov.
Loktionov was acquired earlier in the 2013 season by the Devils from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 5th round draft pick. It was announced in mid Janurary that Loktionov asked to be traded because he wasn’t getting any playing time at center for the Kings, due to the depth they have at the position. Loktionov is said to, “really want to play in the NHL above all else.”
Loktionov was a junior linemate with Devil’s center Adam Henrique in Windsor, when the Spitfires won the Memorial Cup.
A one-year deal makes sense for both sides. It gives the Devils a longer look at the young Russian to prove he can stay in the NHL, and it also gives Loktionov a chance to make sure New Jersey really wants him on the roster. If not, there is a possibility of him going to play in the KHL.
Since coming to New Jersey last year, Loktionov had eight goals, and four assists in 28 games for the Devils. He spent a lot of time centering fellow countryman Ilya Kovalchuk on the first line. Loktionov was also selected to compete in the 2013 IIHF World Championships for Russia. In eight games, he recorded one assist. He was also a +6.