LA KINGS PLAYER PROFILE: ANDREI LOKTIONOV
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.