Fresh off a two-year extension with the Red Wings, the upcoming season of Alexey (or Alexei, depending on who you ask) Marchenko is bound to be one worth keeping an eye on. Having an eventful offseason representing Russia at both the World Cup of Hockey and the World Championships (winning a bronze at the former), Marchenko aims to be an impact player in his second full season in the Winged Wheel. Of course, the extent of his impact will largely be due to not how well he plays, but by external situations largely out of his control.
As we already know, the 2011 draft pick went through stages in the MHL and KHL with Red Army and CSKA Moscow, before toiling through the AHL for three seasons and then finally sticking with the Wings as a regular last year.
Last year’s stats
There’s only one season to go on and there’s not a ton of offensive data to pull from, and he’ll never lead the league in Norris votes or likely be the Wings’ #1 guy but Marchenko’s proven himself to be quite capable at the NHL level.
Marchenko hasn’t particularly earned enough ice time over the course of the career to match up well with any one given individual, but here’s a list of players he does compare to from last season.
Like I said above, no one’s a superstar on this list, but we’re not really expecting him to be one either, are we?
This year’s projection
Marchenko still likely starts the year on the Red Wings’ third pairing, as nothing has indicated that the Wings are ready to rid themselves of the hierarchy they’ve created for themselves.
However, perhaps there’s some hope in the near-certainty that Niklas Kronwall, Danny DeKeyser and Jonathan Ericsson will be forced out of the top-4 due to the fact none of them are player overly-inspired hockey these days.
Marchenko isn’t going to be the future of the Red Wings franchise, but he might be among the team’s top three most skilled defencemen right now along with Brendan Smith and Mike Green. Which is saying a lot about the Wings defence.