It is only a matter of time now before prospect Kirill Marchenko officially signs with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Marchenko, 21, has finished his KHL season, as SKA St. Petersburg fell in the conference finals of the Gagarin Cup playoffs, and he isn’t wasting any time making his next move. While his contract does not officially end until April 30, like many of his SKA teammates Marchenko is already negotiating his next deal. Russian source Sport Express reports that Marchenko will soon sign his two-year entry-level contract with the Blue Jackets. The 2018 second round pick is coming off a 20-point KHL season, finish fifth for St. Petersburg in scoring – a notable feat for a player of his age in a league with many accomplished veterans. A big, rangy winger with a goal scorer’s mentality, Marchenko figures to be yet another young impact player next season for a Columbus team that will have Yegor Chinakhov, Cole Sillinger, and Kent Johnson up front as well.
- After 16 years on the job and contributing to three Stanley Cup titles, Pittsburgh Penguins CEO David Morehouse has stepped down, the team announced. The Penguins’ release states that Morehouse made the decision himself, though the move comes not long after the team was sold to the Fenway Sports Group which may have played a role. Morehouse, a Pittsburgh native, joined the team in 2007 to spearhead the arena construction project that became Consol Energy Center and now PPG Paints Arena. Not only did Morehouse oversee the construction of the arena, but played a key role in filling the seats as well. Morehouse played a role in a number of strategic initiative and capital projects that have taken advantage of the Penguins’ lengthy stretch of consistent success to help build one of the NHL’s most valuable franchises.
- Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp both left Tuesday night’s game between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes due to injury, but head coach Gerard Gallant was adamant that these were precautionary measures. He told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen that both would have returned if it was a playoff game. There is reason to be skeptical of these comments though. First, last night’s game was virtually a playoff game; the Rangers faced the Hurricanes in a must-win for New York if they hoped to take the division crown from Carolina. Even more interesting though was the Rangers’ lineup for tonight’s game. New York understandably kept a number of starters in the press box for the contest with Tuesday’s loss cementing their playoff position. However, rather than listed as a health scratch like the rest, Panarin and Copp were listed as injured. Rosen reports that Panarin is out with an upper-body issue and Copp with a lower-body issue. In case this ends up being a strategic move by the Rangers to downplay these injuries ahead of a seven-game series, the health of Panarin and Copp bears watching.