The 2018 NHL, Entry Level Draft, saw the Columbus Blue Jackets draft talented winger Krill Marchenko in the second round (49th overall.) Marchenko spent the past three seasons playing in the KHL before coming to North America this past year. Starting the 2022-’23 season in the AHL with Columbus’ top affiliate Cleveland Monsters, Marchenko appeared in 16 games and posted eight goals and 19 points. The team has struggled to score goals with injuries that have barraged the Blue Jackets roster,. In 10 games played for the Blue Jackets, Marchenko shows he has staying power.
Krill Marchenko is a strong skater with very good, quick hands. Good agility and strong edgework make Marchenko tough one-on-one. Being more of a goal scorer (4 goals, 4 points in 10 games), Marchenko is a good passer. His large 6’3″ frame makes him difficult to knock off the puck.
There is a rather glaring deficiency to Marchenko’s game, defense. To say his defense is a work in progress would be kind. He is a goal scorer and was not asked to focus on defense in the KHL. In his time with the Monsters, Marchenko was asked to focus on defense to largely mixed results.
Projected as a top-six forward, Marchenko’s bread and butter is his offensive game. When Yegor Chinakov went down with an injury, Marchenko slotted in his place. So far in Columbus, Marchenko has shown a willingness to at least attempt to play defense. The Blue Jackets are not in a position to demand the young, offensively gifted forward to play defense, they need scoring which Marchenko is giving them.
Paired on the third line with Cole Sillinger and Kent Johnson, Marchenko was promoted to the second line in the game against the Chicago Blackhawks. He was more responsible in the defensive zone and scored a goal.
While it looks like Marchenko will improve his defensive game, it is his vision, passing, and scoring touch that looks like it will keep him in Columbus after Chinakov returns. This is good news, as Marchenko certainly has the offensive skill set to be a mainstay in Columbus for a while.