By Jeff O’Connor
Andrei Loktionov – Center
2013 Season Stats
Games played: 28
Average Time on ice: 14:15
Points: 12 (8g, 4a)
Season Grade: B-
In a season full of disappointment, Andrei Loktionov was one of the few bright spots for the New Jersey Devils. NJ traded for the 23-year-old in early February from the Los Angeles Kings for a 5th round pick. He posted eight goals in 28 games, immediately boosting an offense that was desperate for goals without Zach Parise. While raw, Loktionov brought a lot of different tools to table. It became rapidly apparent that he was the fastest skater on the team. He was one of the few guys who could rush the puck from the neutral zone into the attacking area. There’s not many guys on the roster who can pull out dekes and moves, but he immediately became one of the shiftiest guys in the organization.
Loktionov was red hot in his first 18 games, notching 11 points. However, he turned ice cold over his last 10 games, potting just one marker. The one notable statistic that popped out to me was his 17% shooting rate. That is a pretty high number and not likely sustainable, however, in two of his last three seasons, he has posted a shooting percentage higher than 15%.
For the upcoming season, I think it might be a bit much to extrapolate his numbers from 2013 and stretch them to an 82-game sample size. I can’t see him collecting something to the extent of 24 goals.
The good news is, he shouldn’t have to be relied on for a lot of goals this year. He is behind Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique on the depth chart and should be seeing most of his ice time on the third line. If those two do their job, Loktionov should find a nice comfort zone. A kid who’s played 87 career NHL games over four seasons should not be expected to carry a share of the offense.
However, this is a very important year for him. The Devs signed him to a cheap, one-year deal this offseason, essentially asking the question, “What can you do for us in an 82-game season with consistent playing time?” That question will decide the future of Loktionov and if he stays in Newark.
Expect Loktionov to take another step forward this season. He’s not going to light up the stat sheet on a normal basis, but I think those flashes of skill we saw last year, will turn slightly more consistent, where we won’t see him going into lengthy stretches without recording a point.
From my eyes, I think has the ceiling to be a consistent 20-goal scorer, but it probably won’t start this year. Something to the extent of 13 goals and 10 assists sounds about right for him.
Lokti was a nice complement to the offense in 2013, but now it is time for him to take another step forward towards becoming a more integral piece of the puzzle.
In case you missed them, here’s the rest of the series so far: