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While many are talking about 2018 as the year of the Swedish defenceman in the NHL Draft, it should also be noted that this is a particularly strong crop of Russian forwards, especially on the wing. Another name adding to that group is Kirill Marchenko. After putting up 26 points in 29 games with Mamonty Yugry in the MHL as a 16-year-old, a big draft season was expected out of Marchenko. Unfortunately, his regular season was a bit of a disappointment. Marchenko finished with eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 31 games this year. However, he turned things on in the playoffs, with four goals and three assists for seven points in eight games.
It is the international performances that are keeping Marchenko on team’s draft radars though. He has been outstanding in a number of Under-18 tournaments for Russia. He was very strong at the Five Nations tournament. He was also a star at the IIHF Under-18s, where he scored three goals and three assists for six points in five games. He was named a top three player on the team.
Kirill Marchenko Scouting Report
Right Wing/Left Wing — shoots Right
Born Jul 21 2000 — Russia
Height 6.03 — Weight 187 [191 cm/85 kg]
Marchenko is a strong skater. He has very good top-end speed but could get a little quicker with his first step and acceleration. Marchenko has very good agility and strong edgework. He makes quick cuts and can weave in and out of traffic with ease. He is dangerous one-on-one with a defender, especially when working off the rush. He does well with his lower-body strength and balance against junior aged opponents, but he will need to add weight and muscle to improve these areas before getting up to the pro game.
Marchenko has good hands. He can make plays with the puck while moving at top speed. When defenders back off to protect against his speed and skill, he can take advantage of the passing lanes that are opened up, finding teammates with tape-to-tape passes. He is a creative player looking to get by defenders one-on-one and create plays that way as well. Marchenko is more a goal scorer than playmaker. His shot is accurate and features a good release, but is only average in terms of power. Most of his goals come in close to the net.
Marchenko has good size but does not always use it effectively. He could stand to be more aggressive in battling for pucks in the corners. He also needs to be better at establishing his position in front of the net and creating havoc. With the puck, Marchenko is willing to attack the dirty areas of the ice, cutting to the net, and trying to make plays in tight. However, without the puck, he doesn’t always work hard enough, or aggresively enough to get it back.
Marchenko’s defensive game is also a bit of a work in progress. He again seems to shy away from the physical aspects of the game. He is good at getting his stick into passing lanes and intercepting passes, or poke check an opponent and take off in the other direction. When this works, he transitions quickly to offence. However, if it does not work, Marchenko can get caught out of position. He will need to learn how to pick his spots as he moves up to the pro game.
Projection and Comparison
Marchenko has the type of high-end skill to play in the top-six in the NHL, with continued development. However, he is very much a boom-or-bust prospect. Concerns about his lack of defence and physicality will create some issues unless he can address those going forward. It will take some time and a patient development team. In terms of style, Marchenko’s game is reminiscent of Maxim Afinogenov but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages of Marchenko that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
PLYMOUTH, MI – FEBRUARY 14: Kirill Marchenko #21 of the Russian Nationals skates up ice against the Finland Nationals during the 2018 Under-18 Five Nations Tournament game at USA Hockey Arena on February 14, 2018 in Plymouth, Michigan. Russia defeated Finland 4-0. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)