A few days ago, Lokomotiv announced the termination of the contract of 31-year-old defender Alexei Marchenko, who spent the last three seasons in Yaroslavl. Only a year ago, the railway awarded the hockey player a two-year contract, under which he earned 75 million rubles per season, but as a result, Marchenko fulfilled only half of the contract.
Why did Lokomotiv and Marchenko part ways? Obviously, Yaroslavl no longer needed a very expensive defender, who turned out to be traumatic and did not fully play the role of the team leader. In addition, the defensive line of the Yaroslavl team is well equipped even without Marchenko, and already in this offseason the club signed Alexei Bereglazov and Slovakian Martin Gernat.
Photo: Vladimir Bezzubov, photo.khl.ru
As for Marchenko, Alexei has some health issues that could miss him some time, but overall there should be decent demand for an experienced defender in the KHL. We are considering which clubs can see it.
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Muscovites after the last unsuccessful season behave actively and sometimes aggressively on the transfer market. Obviously no one wants to be disgraced for the second year in a row. That is why the appetites of the leadership have changed compared to the situation a year ago. However, for the moment, all the reinforcements of the Spartak players are aimed at signing strikers, who should carry the DNA of the style of Alexei Zhamnov’s team next season. The rojiblancos’ defense was in a rather shaky position that year, but for some reason this summer it did not become an aspect of Roman Belyaev’s greatest attention.
At the moment, the list of defenders to play in the top 4 Zhamnov districts looks like this: Vishnevsky, Tchaikovsky, Zaitsev, Savikov. A serious search for a defender from North America is underway, but, as practice shows, bringing a foot hockey player from across the ocean is now a real art.
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Zhamnov easily works with experienced hockey players, so you can believe in his possible lasting alliance with Marchenko. In addition, Alexey will perfectly fit into the Muscovites’ concept of not paying a hockey player more than 40-45 million rubles per season. The former Lokomotiv player has undergone several operations in recent years, so he should be prepared to move up financially to continue his career in his hometown.
The team from the capital of Belarus is seriously updating after the departure of Craig Woodcroft from the team. Dushak, Barberio, Sapego, Zorkin are the ones who have already left Dynamo this offseason, and perhaps Minsk’s losses in the defensive line are not limited to these hockey players. Dmitry Kvartalnov has always been meticulous in building the defense in his teams. Marchenko can become the one who will keep the first or second pair of defenders for Minsk in the new season. At the moment, the team’s defense is only in the construction phase, and the possible signing of Alexei should not surprise anyone. Kvartalnov is a fan of selfless and courageous fighters who can stand up for themselves and the team. If the signing goes through, Marchenko will become the most famous Russian player in Dynamo’s defensive line.
This summer, the Omsk club is the main headliner of the league in the information space. The “war” between Shumi Babaev’s agency and the Omsk management led to the immediate departure of some key players from the team. To the delight of the fans, the changes did not affect the Avangard defense, however, it cannot be called a reference either. The position of Bogdan Kiselevich, whose game in recent years certainly cannot be called outstanding, is incomprehensible. Unfortunately, after a trip to North America, Bogdan returned to him differently. His physical form indicates that the best years, unfortunately, are behind him.
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The signing of Roman Abrosimov, who never showed anything of value in a serious club, is not entirely clear, and there was only one such club in his career – Ak Bars. I wouldn’t expect a quantum leap from this 28-year-old hockey player either.
A place for Marchenko will undoubtedly be found in the Omsk club. Even in the top 4 along with, say, Ziyat Paygin. The main thing is that Alexei’s health does not let us down. There is no need to worry about the financial aspect of the problem. After failures with Tolchinsky, Gritsyuk and other highly paid forwards, he disappeared for Omsk alone.
After such an unsuccessful 2022/2023 season, another failure for Andrei Skabelka at the Astana club will not be forgiven. This is how the coach himself understands it well, who decided to bet on a radical restructuring of the team, which also played defense. During the offseason, Barys said goodbye to Graham, Sergienko, Mishchenko. All of them until recently were not the last hockey players in the team of the Belarusian coach, but now they are forced to look for additional work.
The successful work of the selection service of the Kazakhstan team can be considered the extension of the agreement with the established Alex Grant, as well as the signing of the Czech defender David Sklenichka, who previously played in the KHL for Jokerit. Marchenko has already played under Skabelka at Lokomotiv and did not give reasons for complaints from such a demanding specialist. The work to strengthen the defense of the Astana team is still going badly, and pre-season training and the first sparring matches will begin soon. Skabelka can resort to the help of a proven defender, without having to wait for the arrival of the next “pig in a coup” from North America, which, by the way, did not take root with Andrei Vladimirovich that year.
Photo: Yaroslav Neelov, photo.khl.ru
Traktor has already announced that the focus of the Chelyabinsk team in the preseason will be on signing the American defender. If it is possible to acquire it, then the need for Marchenko will disappear by itself, but so far he would not rule out this option. Anvar Gatiyatulin always wanted to have experienced defenders at his disposal, who, in which case, could play both aggressively and on the back, which, by the way, last season resulted in Gatiyatulin missing the playoffs. Marchenko is capable of making the second pair of defense together with Yarullin. In this case, Chelyabinsk in the first two packages will have an excellent balance between defense and attack.