Alexey Marchenko was given his first taste of NHL action against the Dallas Stars and in doing so became the third rookie defenseman to make his debut this season; Xavier Ouellet and Adam Almqvist are the other two.
Compared to Almqvist and Ouellet; Alexey Marchenko has a bigger frame, a right-handed shot, and is a very smart two-way defenseman.
In Grand Rapids, he showed his offensive output by tallying 16 points, 2 goals, in 33 game, while showing off his defensive IQ by being a +15 and only picking up 6 penalty minutes.
With the Detroit Red Wings, Alexey Marchenko was sheltered a bit more than Almqvist and Ouellet and only played 13:21, but that was on 25 shifts. So while he did not play a lot of minutes, he did have more shifts than Brian Lashoff and one less than Jakub Kindl.
On Marchanko’s first shift he looked a tad bit shaky and made a poor pass coming out of the corner, which was intercepted and he could not get the puck out of the zone. But after making that poor play, he stuck to his man well and helped cause the mistake that led to the puck leaving Detroit’s zone.
During his second shift, Marchenko was called for a hooking penalty. Taking the penalty was actually a good decision by him, but the reason he had to take the penalty was because he was out of position on the play.
After his first couple shifts, Marchenko seemed to calm down and adjust to the NHL play better; he knew where he was going to put the puck before he received a pass and had better awareness of who was around him.
Marchenko ended up a plus 2 for the game after being on the ice for the Red Wings two goals in 14 seconds and while he did not earn the first plus, had just gotten off the bench, he did earn the second one. Marchenko got the puck up to Bertuzzi off the face-off and he in turn dumped the puck, which led to Drew Miller‘s goal out in front.
For the rest of the game, Marchenko was mostly unnoticeable, which is a very good thing for a young defenseman making his debut in the Winged Wheel, but he has the skill to be noticed more once he becomes comfortable at the NHL level.
The smartest decision that Alexey Marchenko made all game was keeping his shifts short. Because he did this he was always ready to play when it as his turn on the ice and it kept him from getting stuck in a bad position.
There is a lot more to come from this young Russian defenseman and the Detroit Red Wings could certainly use a good right-handed defenseman on the point, while Pavel Datsyuk finally gets another Russian to pal around with.