Columbus Blue Jackets 2023-2024 Season Preview: Kirill Marchenko

COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 02: Kirill Marchenko #86 of the Columbus Blue Jackets reacts after scoring the game winning goal in overtime during the game against the Ottawa Senators at Nationwide Arena on April 2, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Ottawa 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 02: Kirill Marchenko #86 of the Columbus Blue Jackets reacts after scoring the game winning goal in overtime during the game against the Ottawa Senators at Nationwide Arena on April 2, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Ottawa 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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The 2022-2023 season was a nightmare for the Blue Jackets and the 5th line. The massive number of injuries really finished the season as soon as it began for the CBJ. But one bright spot for the Jackets was the emergence of rookie Kirill Marchenko. The rookie started the season in Cleveland and ended the season on the top line in Columbus due to his lethal shot and ability to score. Can the young Russian take the next step in his sophomore season?

RW Kirill Marchenko

6’3”, 187 lbs

2022-2023 stats: 59 GP, 21 G, 4 A, 25 PTS, -23, 16 PIMs

Acquired: Drafted in 2nd round, #49 overall, 2018 NHL Draft

Contract: $0.925m AAV through 2023-2024

Role: Top six winger

Related Story. CBJ Season in Review: Kirill Marchenko. light

One of the silver linings of the 2022-2023 season was the emergence of Kirill Marchenko. In 59 games played, he scored 21 goals and 4 assists. He showed glimpses of becoming a power forward in the NHL; one who could score a lot of goals consistently. As the season progressed, Kirill Marchenko became a fan favorite. He has a good personality, seems to love the city of Columbus, and is a pretty good hockey player. At just 23 years old, he has many years left ahead of him, which should excite the 5th line.

Bigger things are expected out of Marchenko in 2023-2024. He will be playing in the top 6 and will likely find himself on the top line on opening night. He will be expected to grow upon his rookie season and will be leaned upon for scoring. If Marchenko can improve upon last season, he could be a dynamic player and someone to watch closely in 2023-2024.

One bold prediction: Marchenko will score more than 35 goals this season. In 59 games this past season, he was able to score 21 goals. Those 21 goals came with him starting near the bottom of the lineup and working his way up once he gained confidence. Now that he has shown that he has confidence, the sky is the limit! If he can play a full season and play with high-end linemates (Gaudreau, etc.), then it’s not unreasonable to think that Marchenko can improve upon his 21 goal mark from last season. He should be deployed in a lot of offensive situations, which heighten the odds of him reaching 35 goals.

Jan 17, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Kirill Marchenko (86) skates against the Nashville Predators during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 17, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Kirill Marchenko (86) skates against the Nashville Predators during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

Three keys to success:

  1. Shoot the puck. Marchenko is a sniper; his shot is lethal. When the puck is on his stick, the only thing he is thinking about is putting it in the back of the net. He needs to continue that hunger for goal scoring and utilize that shot. While he can pass the puck, he isn’t great at picking up assists. That means that his line mates need to set him up and he needs to just let it rip. The CBJ need him to be a shooter.
  2. Remain confident. It took a few games in the NHL for Marchenko to gain his confidence. But when he did, he looked like a top NHL goal scorer. He needs to maintain that confidence to have the find the utmost of success.
  3. Find chemistry with your line. With all the injuries last season, it was difficult for anyone to find chemistry with their teammates. Marchenko found himself on the top line with Johnny Gaudreau and the two played well together. Linemate chemistry is important for comfortability and execution. As mentioned earlier, Marchenko is a shooter. So, he needs a good set-up man to get him the puck so that he can shoot. Finding good chemistry with line mates will ensure that the puck is on Marchenko’s stick even more.

Kirill Marchenko will be leaned upon to be one of the top offensive weapons for the CBJ this season. He is just 23 years old and will be a mainstay on the CBJ for years to come. If Marchenko’s development continues as planned, expect to hear the cannon go off frequently in Nationwide Arena this season and beyond.

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