2022-23 Player Review: Kirill Marchenko is an absolute gem, on and off the ice
The Happy Russian
Kirill Marchenko had a breakout rookie season for Columbus this year. After playing in the KHL the last three years, and a 16-game stint with the Cleveland Monsters in which he scored eight goals and put up 19 points, he made his NHL debut on December 6th, and never looked back. He scored in five times in the month of December, added a hat trick in January, and by the end of the season, was playing first line minutes with Johnny Gaudreau.
He was a little steaky, like all goal scorers tend to be, and took 30 games to record his first assist, which was a pretty fun anomaly to track as it developed, but you really can't complain. He finished with 21 goals, good enough for third in the rookie scoring race behind Matty Beniers and Wyatt Johnston, despite playing only 59 games, which is 21 less than Beniers and 23 less than Johnston. That's a 29-goal pace. He's arguably a Calder Trophy snub, and was one of the few bright spots on a dreary team in a dreary season.
Beyond that, he became a fan favorite for his infectious personality off the ice. Hijinks include (but are not limited to): writing his own number on the board for post-practice interviews, joining the scrum of reporters to ask fun questions to his teammates, calling himself a playmaker after getting his first assist 30 games into his career, and calling himself, Yegor Chinakhov, and new signee Dimitri Voronkov the "Happy Russian," "Cute Russian," and "Tough Russian" respectively in his exit press. He's an absolute gem who must be protected at all costs.
Assists: 4 (maybe he's got a point on the playmaker thing...)
5v5 CF%: 53.9%
5v5 FF%: 53.7%
Kirill Marchenko has one year left on his entry level deal before he becomes an RFA in 2024. He'll make $925K next season.
I mean, it's hard to beat a hat trick, right? Sprinkle on the game-winning shootout goal (not included in the highlight package), and January 7th may have been the perfect night for Kirill.
Marchenko had three stretches of six games without a goal: January 12th-21st, February 26th-March 14th, and April 4th-14th to end the season.
Report Card: A
I'm not giving an A+, mostly for the low number of assists, but beyond that Marchenko did all you could ask for. His fun personality gets him bonus points, as well. I believe 97% is the A+ cutoff for most places, so we'll mark him at a 96%. Looking forward to many more seasons of this guy in Union Blue!