Prospects News & Rumors: Marchenko, Michkov & Smilanic

Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospect Kirill Marchenko broke a four-game pointless streak with his second three-point performance of the season. Matvei Michkov continues to impress in Russia’s MHL as he draws closer to breaking Nikita Kucherov’s points record. Florida Panthers’ prospect Ty Smilanic records a four-point night in a big win for Quinnipiac University.

Marchenko Breaks Slump In KHL

Blue Jackets’ prospect Marchenko broke a slump yesterday that had seen him fail to record a point in his last four games and in seven of his last eight. He recorded his second three-point night of the season in SKA’s 4-3 victory over Kunlun Red Star. He also recorded a season-high eight shots on goal, which was the most since he recorded seven back in November. In his second full season in the KHL, he now has 14 goals and 11 assists for 25 points in 39 games played. He currently sits fourth in goal scoring on SKA St. Petersburg.

Drafted 49th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season as a rookie in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg. He amassed seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 31 games played. He earned Rookie of the Week honor three times and Rookie of the Month in November. He represented Russia at the 2020 World Junior Championship, winning a silver medal and recording two goals and four assists for six points in seven games played. Marchenko brings incredible puck handling, great skating ability, and an eye for goals that the Blue Jackets will be desperate to add to the fold. Especially after acquiring Patrik Laine from the Winnipeg Jets earlier this year.

Michkov Close to Breaking Kucherov’s Record

Russian phenom Michkov is closing in on Nikita Kucherov’s U17 points record in Russia’s MHL. During the 2009-10 season, Kucherov recorded 29 goals and 25 assists for 54 points in 53 games played. Michkov now has 33 goals and 18 assists for 51 points in 51 games played. His 33 goals have already broken the all-time U17 record, and he is three points away from breaking Kucherov’s points record.

Michkov has four games remaining in the MHL season to achieve the feat. The ridiculous thing about this is that he entered the season as a 15-year old, a full year younger than when Kucherov broke the record. Even if he breaks the record this season, he could come out next year and break it again as he will still be considered an U17 player.

It’s quite an impressive feat when you sit back and remember that he’s two-to-three years younger than most of his peers. It’s unprecedented territory for a player his age to be putting up numbers like this in Russia’s junior league. When you look at what Shane Wright did in his 16-year-old season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Kingston Frontenacs, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to the level of dominance.

Michkov is Russia’s top prospect since the likes of Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin, and there will be plenty of eyes on him for the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. He currently leads SKA-1946 St. Petersburg in scoring with 30 goals and 17 assists for 47 points in 45 games played. He started the year with SKA-Varyagi im. Morozova and amassed three goals and one assist for four points in six games played. He’s two years out from his draft season, but you’d have to think at some point he’ll make his way to Russia’s top division.

Smilanic Records Four Point Performance

Panthers’ prospect Smilanic had a night to remember on Monday after recording one goal and three assists for a four-point performance in Quinnipiac University’s 7-1 victory over LIU. The performance brings his season totals to 13 goals and six assists in 23 games played. He currently sits fourth on the team in scoring but leads them in total goals scored.

Drafted 74th overall by the Panthers in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season in the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP). The Denver, Colorado-native played in 46 games for the USNTDP, amassing 10 goals and 21 assists for 31 points. Injuries held him back last season, but he still managed an impressive season, which culminated in a third-round selection at the draft. Smilanic originally committed to the University of Denver, but a sudden coaching change resulted in him de-committing from the program. He is the highest-rated prospect that Quinnipiac University has ever been able to recruit.

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