Mar 7, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Loktionov (8) carries the puck against the New York Rangers at PNC Arena. The New York Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Andrei Loktionov Struggling With Carolina Hurricanes

Mar 11, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis (26) is chased by the Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Loktionov (8) during the 1st period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

When the Carolina Hurricanes traded Tuomo Ruutu, it was mainly done to save money, but the team also received a young player with some potential to turn around his career in Andrei Loktionov.

But so far, Loktionov has not looked like a player the Canes can rely on for any offense. I realize it’s only been six games and the Russian center has seen mainly fourth-line minutes, but some flashes of offense should have been seen by now.

Loktionov has also been used on the powerplay, and while we all know that doesn’t necessarily mean a chance to show offense on this Hurricanes team, the opportunity has been there for the 23-year-old to contribute.

Since playing his first game on March 7, Loktionov’s ice time has decreased. Reaching over 16 minutes against his ex-team, the New Jersey Devils, to nine in the March 11 game against the New York Rangers. In the past three games, Loktionov has seen more than 11 minutes, about average for a fourth-liner.

What this means is coach Kirk Muller is seeing less of a reason to play Loktionov after those struggles in the offensive zone, which will only hurt his chances of helping the team.

But Muller is probably making the right choice if the former Los Angeles King is bringing nothing to the table.

And things could obviously change. Loktionov is still transitioning to a new team and system and working out those kinks could take a little bit of time, but unfortunately for him, there isn’t much of that.

With 14 games left and Loktionov on the last year of his contract, the Hurricanes will have to make a decision to re-sign the forward based on the short time he’s spent with the team. So far Loktionov hasn’t been persuasive for an extension.

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