Feb 7, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Andrei Loktionov (21) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during the first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Should Andrei Loktionov Return Next Season?

Jan 12, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Andrei Loktionov (21) skates before the start of their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Devils 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Andrei Loktionov is participating in his first full season with the New Jersey Devils.

Loktionov was acquired during the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season and signed a $725,000 contract to return to the team for this season. Loktionov will be a Restricted Free Agent at the end of this season and CapGeek has a qualifying offer calculated at about $761,250. They go on to explain that his qualifying offer increases by 5 percent because his current contract is between $660,000 and $1 million.

Andrei Loktionov has been a bit of a disappointment to this point in the season. He only has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 44 games. He has served as a healthy scratch many times this season and hasn’t shown any signs of consistent success.

He had the most points in a given month in October when he had 3 (1 goal, 2 assists). The next three months, he would have only 2 points a month and tallied one in February.

Dec 4, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Montreal Canadiens goalie Peter Budaj (30) dives while New Jersey Devils center Andrei Loktionov (21) tries to shoot the puck during the second period at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

In January, he only played in 6 games and had a goal and an assist.

Andrei has had much more success at the Prudential Center this season. In 21 games, he has 3 goals and 5 assists with a +8 rating.

However, away from Newark he has been the exact opposite. He has only 1 goal and 1 assist in 23 games with a -6 rating.

Loktionov has a good shot of returning but may end up settling with just the qualifying offer that the Devils would extend to him. He has been thrown around the lineup numerous times (then again, who hasn’t) and is still struggling to find any successful consistency.

With budding prospects such as Joe Whitney and Reid Boucher waiting in the wings, there could be some shuffling in the lineup that would ultimately push Loktionov out.

I think that Loktionov is still a valuable asset to the team but shouldn’t hope to get too much more than he is already getting.

Sound off Devils Army! Do you think Andrei Loktionov should return after this season?

Stats are courtesy of CapGeek.com and ESPN.com.

Should Andrei Loktionov Return Next Season?

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