The Los Angeles Kings are dealing with two overriding problems right now: injuries and a lack of scoring. With offensive defenseman Alec Martinez joining Dustin Penner on the IR, the Kings will turn to two Russian youngsters: scoring blueliner Slava Voynov and forward Andrei Loktionov.
Voynov played the biggest role of the two so far this season, as he received a nice amount of playing time while Drew Doughty struggled with an injury. The Russian blueliner racked up all three of his points against the Dallas Stars, which ended up being the last game of his first stint with the big club. He likely won’t get that same amount of time since he’s subbing for Martinez instead of Doughty, but either way he’ll try to be an offensive catalyst from the blueline.
If any of the two call-ups makes a big difference, it should be Loktionov, though.
Kings coach Terry Murray hopes the natural center can bring some creativity and puck possession to Penner’s spot on the second line alongside Mike Richards and Dustin Brown. Voynov got more reps so far in 2011-12, but Lotionov played 19 games last season, with much of that time coming as a left wing with Anze Kopitar. He only managed seven points in 2010-11, so the hope is that he brings adds more zip this time around.
Losing everyday players to injuries is rarely a good thing, but the Kings might just enjoy a little Russian invasion.