2013 statistics: 28 games with Devils/8 goals, 4 assists, 12 points/minus-2 rating, 4 PIMs
Free-agent status: Restricted
2012-13 salary/cap hit: $$575,000 (NHL) /$816,666 (NHL) (via Cap Geek)
Team history: Acquired for 2012 fifth-round pick in February
What he brings: Loktionov has very good vision, which allows him to sometimes see plays develop a step or two ahead of the other team. It's part of the reason why he was such an excellent compliment to Ilya Kovalchuk, whose own ability to completely manipulate the ice like a chess board in truly remarkable. Loktionov is also a strong passer and has a good enough idea of timing to thread the puck through traffic. The part of Loktionov's game that Pete DeBoer probably likes is the Russian's two-way ability. Loktionov is far from an offense-only centerman, which is a big part of why he received such a key role on the Devils' top line. Well, that and the fact that Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique were basically invisible offensively for long stretches this season.
What he lacks: As much as we love Loktionov -- and we love us some Loktionov -- there are definite problem areas that have us concerned. For one, Loktionov seems reluctant to shoot at times even when he's open. It's been a concern since the Kings drafted him in the fifth round in 2008. Luckily, playing with Kovy gave Loktionov plenty of opportunities to score this season. I just can't help but think he could've had five to seven more goals if he'd just been more aggressive with his shot. Also, Loktionov ain't exactly growing anymore. At 5-foot-10 and 179 pounds, Loktionov is very undersized and can get rubbed off the puck in spots.
Should he stay or should he go: There's no doubt the Devils have every intention of re-signing Loktionov. The question is what the cost will be and how much will the KHL drive up the price. The unfortunate part of Russian-born players in this day and age is they have legitimate leverage in the KHL -- even if they have no intention of using it. Loktionov's RFA status and possible desire to return home were part of the reason the Kings dealt him this season. I can't imagine Lou Lamoriello getting suckered into an overpay for a player he's only seen for 28 games, but I also would be pretty surprised if they let him walk. I think in the end Loktionov will either get a one- or two-year offer from the Devils above his qualifying number or head home. ... FINAL VERDICT: He stays.