If Columbus Blue Jackets’ fans were looking at Kirill Marchenko’s production as a teenager in the KHL fondly and hoping he could be a potential addition to their group next season, think again. Marchenko has signed a new three-year contract with SKA St. Petersburg that will keep him in the KHL through the 2021-22 season.
Marchenko, 19, was the 49th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and impressed by making his KHL debut last season. He was also included on the Russian World Junior team a year ago, something not many 18-year old players accomplish. He’ll be there again this year in a more prominent role, especially because of the six points in 14 games he’s put up during his short time with SKA.
As with any young Russian, using a high draft pick on them comes with some risk that they will not decide to come over to North America. The Blue Jackets will retain Marchenko’s draft rights indefinitely, but he’ll sit just out of their reach for the time being. There are ways of getting out of KHL deals, but Columbus will have to wait for Marchenko to express a desire to leave his home country.