Kirill Marchenko 6-2, 181 pounds

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St Petersburg SKA..."/> Kirill Marchenko 6-2, 181 pounds

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CBJ Summer 2022 Prospect Rankings #2: Kirill Marchenko

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: Kirill Marchenko poses after being selected 49th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: Kirill Marchenko poses after being selected 49th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Kirill Marchenko 6-2, 181 pounds

St Petersburg SKA (KHL)

2nd round (#49 overall), 2018 NHL draft

Playstyle comparisons: Pavel Buchnevich, Martin Necas

NHL upside: Top-six winger

Professional ETA (North America): 2022

Kirill Marchenko lands as our second ranked prospect in the Blue Jackets organization, set to make his North American debut this fall. Ranked as a late first/early second round pick in the 2018 NHL draft, teams were leery of selecting the talented Russian, concerned with how long it would take to bring him over. But the Blue Jackets saw too much value to pass up, and their patience with Marchenko is about to pay off.

A productive junior player, Marchenko was on the scouting radar for a couple of seasons prior to his draft year, but he cemented himself as a top prospect after scoring 8 goals and 16 points in 31 MHL games as a 17 year old. After being selected by the Blue Jackets, he remained in Russia where he would bounce around in the lower tier leagues, before earning permanent promotion to the KHL in 2020. His 2020-21 season was stellar, scoring 15 goals and 28 points in 41 games in Russia’s top league, as well as a 2 goal, 6 point effort (7gp) at the World Juniors.

BIEL, SWITZERLAND – APRIL 30: Kirill Marchenko of Russia battles for the puck with Michael Fora of Switzerland during the Ice Hockey International Friendly game between Switzerland and Russia at Tissot-Arena on April 30, 2021 in Biel, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Images)
BIEL, SWITZERLAND – APRIL 30: Kirill Marchenko of Russia battles for the puck with Michael Fora of Switzerland during the Ice Hockey International Friendly game between Switzerland and Russia at Tissot-Arena on April 30, 2021 in Biel, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Images) /

Unfortunately, his numbers came down to a 12 goal, 20 point output (39gp) in 2021-22. But do not be alarmed by his drop in production; Marchenko’s ice time was limited likely due to the fact that he would not sign a contract extension to remain in Russia beyond this season. This is a somewhat common practice in the KHL, and even with limited minutes, Kirill finished fourth on his team in goals. Benching him likely did more harm than good for St Petersburg.

Marchenko may be the most NHL ready prospect in the Blue Jackets organization. With excellent hands and a deadly shot, he can score goals in a variety of ways, but is also a good playmaker. He has NHL size and while he doesn’t throw huge checks, he does a nice job using his body to create time and space for himself.  He sees the game well and can help create offense in a variety of ways, with or without the puck. He’s already played – and been productive – against men in Russia, and the additional developmental time has given him a chance to round out some of the secondary areas of his game.

Coming to North America a mostly polished, experienced player, Marchenko will have to learn how to play a more physical brand of hockey, on smaller North American ice, over the course of a longer schedule. The only question becomes, where does he fit into the Blue Jackets roster immediately, and long term?

VANCOUVER , BC – JANUARY 4: Kirill Marchenko #12 of Russia skates against the United States during a semi-final game at the IIHF World Junior Championships at Rogers Arena on January 4, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER , BC – JANUARY 4: Kirill Marchenko #12 of Russia skates against the United States during a semi-final game at the IIHF World Junior Championships at Rogers Arena on January 4, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /

He has the skill to make the roster right out of camp this fall, and I suspect he will make a big push. Whether or not he can step right into a top-six role is yet to be seen, but I think he’s very capable of being a 30 goal, 60 point guy in the NHL, and I also think he’s ready to play. Allowing this prospect to develop at his own pace, could give the Blue Jackets a Calder Trophy candidate for the 2022-23 season. Marchenko is a high end prospect, and could be a core piece of this team for many years to come.

Read: Reviewing the 2016 NHL Draft