The Detroit Red Wings got a much-needed 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night, as defenseman Alexey Marchenko became the fifth player to make his NHL debut for the team this season. A seventh-round pick of the Red Wings in 2011, Marchenko finished the night with a plus-2 rating while playing more than 13 minutes. He saw nearly a minute of ice time on the penalty kill, and did not look out of place while paired with Kyle Quincey. A penalty for hooking in the first period likely wasn’t the way he wanted to get started, but he did a good job of playing well the rest of the time he was on the ice.
Marchenko has been a steady performer for the Grand Rapids Griffins as an AHL rookie this season, and has two goals and 16 points through 33 games. He joins Adam Almquist and Xavier Ouellet as Red Wings defense prospects who have debuted this season, and 2011 second-rounder Ryan Sproul could soon join that group as well. Last season was Marchenko’s fourth with CSKA Moscow of the KHL, and by far his best. He had four goals and nine points in 44 games, and had a chance to play with current teammate Pavel Datsyuk during the lockout.
The Red Wings recalled Marchenko on Friday, after they learned that Danny DeKeyser would be sidelined with a groin injury. With Jonathan Ericsson also out, that left the team with only five defensemen for their current five-game road trip. It’s unclear how long Marchenko will stay up, but he showed he can handle play at the highest level and the Red Wings now know they have at least three prospects on the blue line who will be competing for roster spots in coming seasons.