Loktionov is getting excellent notices in New Jersey.
Devils center Andrei Loktionov continues to make key contributions and impress, scoring the tying goal with 8:38 left in regulation Saturday. Loktionov, who was acquired for a 2013 fifth-round draft pick in a Feb. 6 trade with Los Angeles and called up from Albany (AHL) on Feb. 17, has points in five consecutive games now (three goals, two assists).
“It’s nice to score goals, but if we win it would be much better,” the 22-year-old Russian said.
In his two weeks with the team, Loktionov has emerged as an important player. He has played the last two games on the top line with Ilya Kovalchuk.
“Right now, anybody that can consistently create offense for us is important and he’s the one guy the last five or six games that’s been doing that,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said.
Loktionov clearly enjoys playing with Kovalchuk (today Stefan Matteau was the left wing on that line and set up Loktionov’s goal with a nice pass). [...] And Kovalchuk is among those impressed with how well Loktionov has played since being called up.
“He’s good, very patient with the puck, makes plays,” Kovlachuk said. “I think Pete is starting to trust him more defensively. I think it’s a really good addition for us.”
Loktionov is making the most so far of an opportunity he never received – at least not at center – from the Kings. “My game is going,” he said. “It’s very important the coaches trust me. That’s all I need.”
“He’s a good listener, a quick learner,” Kovalchuk said. “He never got a chance to play in L.A. I think it’s great that he got an opportunity to play here on the top two lines and he’s produced and showed that he can play.”