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Puck Daddy

Kings trade Andrei Loktionov to Devils, where he might be able to crack the roster

Harrison Mooney
Puck Daddy

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A week after it was first reported that Andrei Loktionov had requested a trade from the Los Angeles Kings, the 22-year-old centre has gotten his wish. He is now a member of the New Jersey Devils.

The Kings' return wasn't exactly a king's ransom. The Devils only sent a 5th round pick the other way. But when you have an unhappy player in the organization, you get him out of there. And the Kings managed to break even, at the very least. They used a 5th round pick to get Loktionov in 2008, and they got one back when they dealt him.

But don't feel bad for Loktionov. While his ego might have suffered upon learning his value hasn't increased since draft day, he'll now likely have an opportunity to prove he's worth more than that in an NHL role.

It was an opportunity he didn't feel he'd be getting in LA -- not with the Kings set up the middle for years. From Mayor's Manor:

This boils down to playing time, something the highly skilled forward isn’t likely to see in Los Angeles anytime soon.

Deep at center, the Kings moved the 22-year old Russian over to the wing two seasons ago. And according to both the player and former coach Terry Murray, that was a failed experiment.

Now, with Jarret Stoll signing a multi-year contract extension last summer, the team is locked up down the middle for many years to come - with Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Stoll.

Loktionov should fit in well in New Jersey, where the Devils are a little thinner at centre. With a strong showing in Albany, where Loktionov's been assigned, he should be able to earn a call-up. If he does, it wouldn't be too much of a surprise to see Peter DeBoer give him an opportunity on the second or third line, especially if he wants to pluck Adam Henrique from the second line and plug him in alongside Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk, an idea with which he's briefly flirted this season.

Plus, like the Devils, Loktionov didn't get his name on the Stanley Cup this summer because the Kings are too deep, so he and his teammates will have that to complain about.

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney

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