Devilish Decisions: Andrei Loktionov

Corey Griffin

Andrei Loktionov-Ilya Kovalchuk

This is a series of posts on the Devils’ pending free agents (restricted and unrestricted). We’ll cover their strengths and weaknesses and end up with a final verdict on whether we think the Devils should re-sign the player. There will also be a poll at the end of each post so you guys can weigh in with your thoughts.

Position: Center
Age: 22
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.

To read more of this story, click here

Devils at the Worlds: Russia Stunned By France

Even though the New Jersey Devils are no longer playing as team, some Devils are still playing competitive hockey.

The IIHF World Championships are happening abroad– in Finland and Sweden, in fact. There are two Devils apiece on Teams USA and Russia and one on Team Sweden.

Ilya Kovalchuk posted three shots on goal in 23:19 of ice time in Team Russia’s stunning 2-1 loss to France on Wednesday.

Neither Kovalchuk, nor Andrei Loktionov gained points in Russia’s first tournament loss. Loktionov finished 6-for-11 on faceoffs.

In Sweden’s 3-0 loss to Canada, Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder had two shots in 20:30.

 

This Date In Devils History– May 8

Even though the Devils’ 2013 season is over, we can still look back at some great moments in New Jersey’s playoff history.

On May 8…

1988- Officials boycott game 4 of the Wales Conference finals between the Devils and Boston Bruins, after the NHL did not suspend New Jersey coach Jim Schoenfeld for his postgame outburst at referee Don Koharski.

Schoenfeld subsequently was suspended, replacement officials were used and Lou Lamoriello coached New Jersey to a 3-1 win in game 4 at Brendan Byrne Arena. David Maley, Pat Verbeek and Tom Kurvers each scored goals, as the Devils even the best-of-seven series at 2.

1995- Just a day removed from his second-career playoff shutout, Martin Brodeur shuts out the Boston Bruins again, 3-0, in game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Boston Garden.

2000- Brodeur stops all six shots he faces– yes six, that’s not a typo– in New Jersey’s 3-0 Eastern Conference semifinal-clinching game 6 win at Continental Airlines Arena.

Petr Sykora and Jason Arnott each register a goal and an assist, as New Jersey wins the series 4-2.

2012- Ilya Kovalchuk records a goal and an assist, and David Clarkson scores the eventual game-winning goal, as the Devils polish off the Philadelphia Flyers with a 3-1 win in game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Wells Fargo Center.

The Devils claim the series 4-1 and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

Clarkson’s odd game winner:

World Championships Roundup: Kovalchuk Leads Russia Over Team USA At Worlds

Even though the New Jersey Devils are no longer playing as team, some Devils are still playing competitive hockey.

The IIHF World Championships are happening abroad– in Finland and Sweden, in fact. There are two Devils apiece on Teams USA and Russia.

Those squads happened to square off Tuesday, with Ilya Kovalchuk gaining a goal and an assist in Russia’s 5-3 win over the Americans at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.

Kovalchuk now has five goals in only three games and leads the entire tournament with seven points. Kovalchuk’s linemate– on the Devils and Team Russia– Andrei Loktionov was a plus-1 in 12:18.

Stephen Gionta and Ryan Carter were each a minus-2 for Team USA.

Roundup: Devils In World Championships

With the Devils not being part of the playoffs this year, it’s time for everyone second-rate tournament — the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS! So which Devils will be carrying the flag on their backs this month?

Via Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger:

Stephen Gionta and Ryan Carter will both play for Team USA in the world championships in Finland and Sweden.

Ilya Kovalchuk will play for Russia, in the same group as the U.S.

“It will be fun chasing his  (sic) around the big ice surface,” Gionta said sarcastically.

Henrik Tallinder will play for Sweden.

All of those additions make sense, but this omission seems perplexing to me.

Corey Griffin

I’m not sure I understand that one. He should’ve at least gotten a call, right? Greene was the Devils’ best defenseman all year and definitely could’ve helped Team USA. Maybe he let the people in charge know beforehand he wasn’t going to play and they didn’t contact him out of courtesy. I’m not sure if that’s the answer, but not even contacting him makes no sense.

Postgame Thoughts: Rangers 4, Devils 0 (4/27/13)

The New York Rangers looked like they had something to play for on Saturday afternoon.

The Devils did not.

New Jersey ended its disappointing campaign with a flat, uninspired effort in a 4-0 loss to New York at Madison Square Garden.

Ryan Callahan and Derek Stepan each recorded a goal and an assist, Rick Nash scored twice, and Brad Richards had two assists as New York finished its regular season 26-18-4.

The Rangers locked up at least the No. 7 seed in the upcoming Eastern Conference playoffs and can finish sixth if the Ottawa Senators lose their remaining two games– or if Ottawa finishes 1-1.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 20 shots he faced.

Johan Hedberg stopped 17 shots. The Devils finished their lockout-shortened 48-game campaign with 48 points– a perfectly-mediocre 19-19-10.

While the whole team looked disinterested, the Devils defense looked downright egregious.

Peter Harrold and Andy Greene were the Devils’ only two Even ‘D’ and both took penalties.

Adam Larsson and Marek Zidlicky were both minus-2 — Larsson could’ve gotten a secondary assist on Nash’s first goal. Meanwhile, Zidlicky was caught flatfooted on several occasions and made a weak pass that Stepan easily stole and dished to Callahan on his shorthanded goal late in the first.

Zidlicky will be an unrestricted-free agent at season’s end, and I’d be stunned if he returns. He was minus-10 and was essentially the posterchild for New Jersey’s defensive woes this year.

Ilya Kovalchuk wasn’t much better, finishing a minus-2 and only earning two shots. Kovalchuk was caught watching on Nash’s second goal, failing to backcheck or do anything more than stare as Nash beat Hedberg.

Hedberg’s left pad was Nash’s top foil.

The dynamic winger could’ve had at least four goals– even five– but Hedberg’s pad stymied five of Nash’s game-high seven shots.

Hedberg’s left pad was good in New Jersey’s win Thursday, and he performed admirably in place of Martin Brodeur.

Still, Brodeur was still not immune from MSG ridicule. The Garden’s fans peppered him with “We want Marty” and “Mar-ty” song chants.

Brodeur hadn’t sat an entire game on the bench at MSG in almost 20 years.

New Jersey’s penalty kill was about its only bright spot Saturday.

The Devils held the Rangers shotless in six man-advantages, including a pair of two-man advantages.

The Devils’ penalty kill was a major Achilles’ heel at points this year but closed the campaign killing their last seven, finishing 16th in the NHL in penalty killing.

Anton Volchenkov led the Devils on Saturday with three shots.

That pretty much tells the story, doesn’t it?

Gameday: Devils at Rangers (4/27/13)

Devils-Rangers-Hockey

Who: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
When: 3:00 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
Media: TV - NBC; (Channel listings); RadioBloomberg (1130 AM)

Stats & Notes (via Devils PR)

  • The Devils enter tonight’s game 15-11-3 in their previous 29 season-closing games. The team is 7-0-1 in its past seven season-closers, and has not lost since April 4, 2004 vs. Boston (3-1). New Jersey is closing a season on the road for the first time since April 18, 2006 at Montreal (4-3 win).
  • New Jersey closed-out the home portion of its 2012-13 schedule Thursday with a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh. The Devils are now 19-8-3 in their previous 30 home finales. New Jersey is 7-0-1 in its last seven home-closers (last loss, April 4, 2004 vs. Boston, 3-1).
  • The Devils finished with a 13-9-2=28pts mark at Prudential Center.
  • New Jersey finished with a season-high (tie) three consecutive home victories.
  • Thursday vs. Pittsburgh, the Devils improved to 5-17-6 on the year when allowing the first goal. New Jersey is 14-1-4 when scoring first this season.
  • Johan Hedberg (16 saves) earned the win Thursday in his first start since March 19 vs. the New York Rangers. He is expected to start this afternoon, as well.
  • Ilya Kovalchuk scored the game-winning goal and added an assist Thursday and now has points in three straight games (1g-3a-4pts). He is one assist shy of the 400-mark in his NHL career.
  • David Clarkson scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season Thursday. It was his sixth on the power play, which also leads New Jersey.

Expected Lineup

Forwards

Ponikarovsky-Henrique-Kovalchuk
Elias-Zajac-Clarkson
Zubrus-Josefson-Sullivan
Carter-Gionta-Bernier

Defense

Greene-Larsson
Volchenkov-Zidlicky
Harrold-Tallinder

Goalie

Hedberg

Inactives: Barch, Bernier, Ponikarovsky, Urbom, D’Agostini, Gelinas, Pesonen, Sislo

Sidelined: Salvador (wrist), Fayne (nagging injury)

The End: Today is New Jersey’s 48th and final game of 2013. New Jersey’s won four of its last five games and, though it won’t make the playoffs, nor will it be able to keep the Rangers out of the playoffs, the Devils can resign New York to the East’s No. 8 seed if they can win in regulation.

The Rangers will clinch at least the No. 7 seed with a point.

Moose: Hedberg will start in net in Saturday afternoon’s game at Madison Square Garden. The 40-year-old goalie stopped 16 shots in Thursday night’s win over Pittsburgh and is 0-1 against the Rangers this year.

On the flipside, Martin Brodeur will not start on Saturday, sitting out his first game at MSG while healthy since 1993. Apparently it was Brodeur’s call.