Sometimes, I am wrong.

This time and about this player, I was wrong. Way wrong.

While he is only a rookie and he has so much left to do to earn a second line center role on this Kings’ team, for all intensive purposes, Andrei Loktionov is on the fast track there.

I don’t get overly excited over any rookie in a handful or three of games, but there is something very special about Lokti and it’s more than his dynamic smile. This kid has talent. Shifty, sneaky, a magnet for the open ice, lateral moves and stick handling ability that may be the best on the LA Kings at the forward position and a knack for creating high percentage scoring opportunities while he maintains discipline on the defensive side of the puck. Huzzah!

What has caused this sudden emergence that has elevated Loktionov from young hearth throb among select Kings’ fans to rookie sensation? It started with a Terry Murray line shuffle. Gasp. Except you can’t really give credit to Terry…well you could, but I won’t. Can you really bestow praise upon someone who places a round peg in a round hole?

I am digressing.

The move to center has highlighted Loktionov’s strength – being the catalyst to his line. Crossing the blue paint with the puck firmly on his stick, creating time and space for his wingers, getting open and finding linemates when he is pressured. If the player we are seeing develop before our eyes is one who will continue to mature and progress forward, the words “second line center” and “future” among LA Kings’ fans may collide with Loktionov’s name in the middle as often as Brayden Schenn. A nice problem to have. Let’s hope it develops into a down right dilemma…that is until Murray moves him back to wing. I know, I know, I had to go there.

Oh, what was I wrong about? I had hoped you forgot I even brought that up. I was wrong about Loktionov. I have been mispronouncing his name “Lucktee” as opposed to “Loak-Tee”…you thought it was something else? Maybe It was. Surly can tell you.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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9 replies

  1. Love this baby Russian.. speed skill and creativity.. makes the game exciting!
    Go Latte!!
    GO KINGS GO!!!


  2. I’ve been pretty criticle of Lokti being used as a left winger, but have always maintaned that we can’t really get a good read on what this little russian could do being 180 pounds, a rookie, and trying to figure out a position he’s never played before. I’m still criticle of the fact that he’s having a uereka momment, and being applauded for a move that I’ve been asking for since Loktis’ 5th game in the NHL . Trouble with depth on the left can’t be used as an excuse since the problems still there, and Lokti’s playing center now.

    Maybe I’m just ahead of the curve, but I don’t see myself as being that smart. More like TM is just that stubborn.

  3. The kid is great. Lots of shot, excellent setup and playing with Clifford is opening some space for him.

  4. My Favorite rookie since training camp…..Natural position makes all the difference!!!!

    NOW this is why our smallish, needs to bulk up, not ready highly talented prospects are here….but NOT!!!

    Lewis may not be lighting up the score sheet, but he has been a very solid, and needed part of our team….but this only surfaced when they moved him to his natural position…center.
    He was a below average question mark of a 1st round pick up until this season.

    Not all forwards can play center, and not all centers can excel on the wing, without the middle ice options available, the limitations resemble trying to pull out of a parking space at top speed, and having only 2 directions to go.

    Moving the veteran forwards to alternative positions makes so much more sense, they have the experience to make the adjustments, and contribute on those merits.
    Forcing our rookies to learn a new position, slows their progress, lowers their worth…..they were highly tauted in their respective positions, and we have been attempting to squeeze them into our lineup.

    Now if we can just get Murray to move Brown over to the left wing where he is more comfortable and excels, instead of making him a right wing so his stick can play this cycled board game of his.

  5. And furthering my opinion of TM’s handedness determines position because his cycle requires it.
    Jack Johnson left handed left side D-man
    Drew Doughty right handed right side D-man

    2010 Olympics, Both played opposite sides and excelled, but TM can’t have his cycle work in his opinion unless the forehand is on the boards…………uuuugh the f-n boards.

    Johnson to Doughty, powerplay goals against Edmonton, instint replay, but not….same play, both comfortably on their off sides, forehand to the middle, back to back repeat goals.
    The puck has been bouncing or getting by both guys in the offensive zone tons…..with their sticks forehand to boards.
    Point being, where , what angles and what area’s do these guys play better……let their play determine where they belong
    Not the TM land of the lost system of playing on the edge……where the boards meet the ice’s edge

    • Great observation.

    • Good point. It’s not like they’re getting good passes to the point on their forehand anyways. Bouncing pucks careening off the boards from almost blind passes to the point because the cycle blows and is relegated to the outside. Watch almost any other NHL game and the cycle does not play out like the Kings play it. You need all 3 forwards involved in the cycle instead of having one stuck in front of the net (you can go to the net but just blindly going there by default is dumb) or hanging too high in the zone. You also need some streaking into open passing lanes between the opponents.

      The off-hand is good on D so you can get a better angle on a shot from the point and can also take one-timers on a D-to-D pass.

  6. Nice comments boys. I will only add that you are emphasizing why Terry Murray gives me so many gray hairs and why I am not quick to give him credit for victories that are outside of his offensive system. For defense, he gets mads props. For offense, our boys have to take things into their own hands


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