It appears the Columbus Blue Jackets are very close to signing one of their top prospects.
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According to a report from Sport Express, the Blue Jackets are expected to sign Kirill Marchenko to a two-year rookie contract that will begin in the 2022-23 season. This has been expected for some time. However since his contract in Russia doesn’t expire until Apr 30, don’t expect a formal announcement until May.
What Marchenko’s Signing Means
The Blue Jackets selected Marchenko in the second round, 49th overall, in the 2018 NHL Draft. At the time, many people in the hockey world thought this was a great pick. However the Blue Jackets would have to wait since he was under contract in Russia.
Now that Marchenko’s contract is set to expire, this was the logical next step. He will come into a situation with the Blue Jackets where he could win a role on the team right out of training camp. He’s known for his offense and creativity. His ability to finish has made some highlight reels.
Marchenko scored 20 points in 39 games for his team SKA this season. He also played in the VHL (the Russian Junior League) for SKA-Neva where he added eight points in 12 playoff games.
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Marchenko’s arrival not only creates more excitement for the team and their fans, but it also crowds up the forward ranks even more. Marchenko is a winger. If you consider Patrik Laine, Jake Voracek, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Gus Nyquist as your top-six wingers for next season, you see there’s plenty of competition. We haven’t even gotten to Kent Johnson and others yet.
The Blue Jackets have a great problem knowing that several guys will compete for playing time. This will sort itself out over camp and into the season. Meanwhile it’s reasonable to expect Marchenko to start off in a limited role and then work his way up once he gets used to playing in North America.
Marchenko’s arrival also means he could potentially make his debut at the 2022 Traverse City Prospect’s tournament. Remember what happened the last time a couple of big name prospects played there for the Blue Jackets? Cole Sillinger and Yegor Chinakhov stole the show. Maybe Marchenko and Johnson do the same this year?
Regardless of how it shakes out, the Blue Jackets will be thrilled to get Marchenko under contract and over to North America as soon as possible to get ready for next season. His arrival is another reason why many around the team are excited for what the future holds. With Corson Ceulemans still to come and potentially a pair of 2022 lottery picks coming as well, quietly the Blue Jackets are building a strong team for the future that is filled with skill.
Related: Blue Jackets Enter New Era Filled With Skill
The Blue Jackets have two games left this season. But after that, an important and interesting offseason awaits. That offseason appears to include Marchenko’s arrival in Columbus.