Walking into a new locker room and joining a new team is never easy, but Andrei Loktionov appears to have had a smooth transition with the Carolina Hurricanes. Obtained in the trade this month with New Jersey that sent Tuomo Ruutu to the Devils, Loktionov has quietly gone about his business, been a responsible player on the ice and a good fit in the room. “It’s a nice team with nice guys,” the Russian forward said this week. “It’s easy to be here. The guys support me. It makes it easy to just go play hockey and not worry about things.” Loktionov had a goal and assist Tuesday in the Canes’ 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders. He was on the ice for three of the Isles’ goals, finishing minus-2 for the game, but did help spark the Canes’ comeback after a horrible start – the Isles taking a 4-0 lead in the first 11 minutes of the game. “I’m really pleased with him,” Canes coach Kirk Muller said. “His attitude has been great in terms of wanting to learn and get better. He’s a smart little two-way player who has been dependable without the puck and he works hard. He competes. He’s earned his ice time.” Loktionov, 23, also has given the Hurricanes something to consider heading to the offseason. Loktionov, who has a $725,000 salary this season, will be a restricted free agent. The Canes must decide whether to give him a qualifying offer or make him an unrestricted free agent. If the Canes feel a need for more size, he’s not a big guy at 5-11 and 190 pounds. He hasn’t put up a lot of points: two goals, two assists in 10 games. He has been with two previous organizations – the Los Angeles Kings and Devils – and been deemed expendable by both, playing almost as many games in the American Hockey League as the NHL.
Canes' Loktionov makes smooth transition
Raleigh News & Observer | Mar 27