Kings deal Monarchs' Loktionov
Russian center Andrei Loktionov got his wish on Wednesday by getting traded from the Los Angeles Kings organization to the New Jersey Devils for a fifth round draft pick.
Loktionov has reportedly requested a trade several times, most recently last week.
He finished last season with the Kings during their Stanley Cup run, but played just two games in the playoffs, both in the first round against Vancouver. He did not get his name engraved on the Cup.
When the NHL lockout ended, Loktionov remained a member of the Manchester Monarchs and was not called up to the parent club. Through 37 games in Manchester this season Loktionov had seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points.
"Andrei's got a ton of potential and for whatever reason, things just haven't unfolded for him in a way that everybody has projected it to," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "He's a talented hockey player. Perhaps a fresh start will rekindle his career and give him the opportunity that's going to get him on the right track to an NHL career."
The 22-year-old Loktionov was a fifth round pick by the Kings in 2008, 123rd overall. He made a splash in his professional debut, netting a hat trick with the Monarchs in the 2009 season opener.
Loktionov had sporadic opportunities with the Kings over the past three-plus seasons, skating in 59 NHL games and scoring seven goals and seven assists. Shoulder injuries and an aborted move to wing slowed his progress and Loktionov often found himself in Kings' coach Darryl Sutter's doghouse.
Meanwhile, Loktionov's countryman and close friend Slava Voynov, whom Loktionov roomed with in Manchester, has made it work in L.A. with a regular shift on the Kings' blue line.
"I'm sure there was some frustration on Andrei's part, especially being so close to Slava and other guys that he's played with over time (who are in L.A.)," Morris said. "We were hoping that his experience here in Manchester would ignite that flame in him to hit his stride and really blossom and develop the confidence to play at the NHL level. Obviously, it's something that we can't control here in Manchester right now."
Los Angeles received a fifth round pick for Loktionov, which seems fair considering that Loktionov himself was a fifth rounder. But the time and effort put into Loktionov's development is lost.
But moving an unhappy player that doesn't fit your future plans isn't always easy, so Los Angeles took what it could get and called it a day. In the end, it was likely the best outcome anyone could expect and now Loktionov has a fresh start in a New Jersey system that could use some help at center.
In other transaction news for the Monarchs on Wednesday, veteran defenseman Andrew Campbell finally got his long-awaited call-up to Los Angeles. Andrew Bodnarchuk was sent down, so the Monarchs (who host Providence Saturday for "Pink in the Rink" night) won't be short on defensemen.
An assistant captain, Campbell has been with Manchester since 2009 and could make his NHL debut with L.A. tonight when the Kings visit Nashville (and former Monarch Rich Clune). Campbell is a capable penalty killer and shot-blocker and popular locker room presence.
"We're excited for him," Morris said. "Soupy has been waiting for this call for some time. He's been a key member of our defensive corps for several years now and I talked to him and wanted to make sure he put his best foot forward and took full advantage of his chance to show what he can do."
The Monarchs also called up goalie J.F. Berube after Peter Mannino suffered an injury after taking a slap shot to the leg in practice Wednesday. Mannino is not expected to be out too long and Martin Jones will likely play both games this weekend.