Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Alexey Marchenko has been named to the Russian men’s national team roster for the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Marchenko was acquired by the Leafs in February, 2017 from the Detroit Red Wings off of waivers. The former 7th round pick by the Wings in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft was a favourite of Leafs head coach Mike Babcock from his time in Detroit, but the young defenceman was never able to fill a roll in Toronto. He’d be placed on waivers after playing just 11 games with the Leafs. Ultimately, the team and the play elected to mutually terminate their agreement so Marchenko could return to Russia and sign in the KHL.
This season, the 26-year-old Marchenko has put up two goals and 14 points in 40 games with a powerhouse CSKA Moscow club. He managed just a goal and an assist in his time with the Leafs.
In terms of surprises with this Russian roster, it’s no surprise to see big names like Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk on the roster, but there are certainly some omissions that have fans scratching their heads. Where’s former Boston Bruins forward Alexander Khokhlachev? He’s 6th in KHL scoring. Former Dallas Stars horse Valeri Nichushkin is nowhere to be seen either. Or how about veteran defenceman Andrei Markov, formerly of the Montreal Canadiens?
What’s your take? Do you think Canada has the star power to tackle a team loaded with star NHLers, albeit aging star NHLers?