I always imagine Loktionov as a pre-revolution Russian cavalry officer. Does that make me weird? (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
So you lost your number to Simon Gagne. Hey man, it happens. You know what? It's OK. I don't think that number was right for you anyway. Only losers wear #12. You? You're not a loser. You're a charming trickster with flair and élan and you need a number that reflects that. You're going to be my new favorite player so I'm going to help you find that number. Let's take a look at what's available:
After consulting the chart, here are the only possibilities:
Notable Previous Wearers: Oscar Moller, Kelly Buchberger, some loser named Bernie
Pros: #9 is just one of those numbers that looks cool on the back of a jersey. It also has a long and illustrious history in the NHL; it has been worn by pretty much every great scorer ever, and those that couldn't wear it usually wore a variation on it (#19, #99). Igor Larionov, your mentor, wore #9 for a little while (although he preferred #8). A single digit number would also look good on you because you're smaller and the number would fit on your back. Best of all, we could all just squint and pretend you're Oscar Moller.
Cons: You would be taking Moller's number, assuming he comes back. Plus, #9 is generally for scorers, not cerebral playmakers like you.
Pros: #17 is an excellent number for a smaller guy like you because 1 and 7 are the 2 slimmest digits there are and form a sleek, sexy combination. #17 also has a solid reputation among Kings' fans.
Cons: 3 of my all-time favorite Kings (and Nelson Emerson) all wore 17 and they all got traded away. I have high hopes for you and I don't know if I could handle losing another awesome #17. Plus, I kind of want Voynov to wear #17 when he finally gets called up.
Notable Previous Wearers: Adam Mair, Nathan Lafayette, Mark Hardy, Jay Wells
Pros: Something about it brings up good memories.
Cons: #24 is far too wide a number to fit on your dainty shoulders. Also... Fro... (*Sob)
Pros: #71 is the inverse of the 1+7 thing I mentioned earlier. It looks really, really cool on a jersey. 91 also looks awesome on a jersey. You're Russian and Russians are different; your jersey number should reflect that.
Cons: You'd probably get benched even faster than you already have been by Terry Murray.
Pros: Both are cool numbers that would look good on a playmaking center like you.
Cons: They're both taken. But really, a big guy like Kopitar shouldn't have a skinny number like #11. And Westgarth... c'mon, man, Westy doesn't deserve #19. He should wear #24 and say he's honoring Bob Probert and Derek Boogaard or something. Leave #19 for the skilled guys.
So there you go, Andrei. Pick any of the above and you'll be the most stylish kid
in Manchester on the block. Pick some goofy number like 37 and I'll hate you forever.
P.S. Tell Willie Mitchell, Davis Drewiske and Trevor Lewis that their numbers suck. Tell Dustin Penner, Mike Richards and Kyle Clifford that they made solid choices. Tell Jarret Stoll that he has a receding hairline.
P.P.S. If I ever meet you in person... can I give you a scruff? I want to tousle your hair. Just a little bit.