The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed former Detroit Red Wings defenceman Alexey Marchenko and placed Frank Corrado on waivers as of Noon on Saturday.

Marchenko, a 6’2, 210-pound right shot, played 14 games for Mike Babcock between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. Over 110 career NHL games, he’s accumulated three goals and 19 points while playing bottom-pairing minutes in Detroit. The 25-year-old has averaged 17:58 per game this season, tied for seventh among Red Wings defencemen, but he was a regular on the penalty kill when in the lineup (2:17 per game, second among Wings D).

After competing in the World Cup of Hockey for Team Russia (playing alongside Buffalo’s Dmitry Kulikov) in September, Marchenko has been in and out of Wings’ top six this season; he appeared to have locked down a spot before a shoulder injury in late November forced him out of the lineup. After sitting out four consecutive games as a healthy scratch in late January, the return of Brendan Smith from injury meant the Red Wings had to place one of Marchenko or fellow right-hander Ryan Sproul on waivers.

Given Babcock knows the player well, it can be assumed Marchenko has a far better chance of entering the lineup with some regularity than Frank Corrado ever did. Marchenko’s ability to contribute on the penalty kill certainly helps his cause; that was never a responsibility Babcock trusted Corrado with during his time here (he averaged just 39 seconds of PK time in his 40 appearances as a Leaf) and it made it difficult for Corrado to displace Roman Polak in the lineup.

If Marchenko fits into the Leafs defence core as anticipated, he could be a replacement for Polak, a pending UFA. I’ve spoken to one NHL coach who recently name-dropped Polak as a good depth defenceman for a playoff team. He could, perhaps, command a similar return to what he garnered last deadline (a second round pick).

Signed through 2017-18 at a $1.45 million cap hit, Marchenko qualifies as a 40-70 defenseman for expansion draft purposes, as does Martin Marincin.

Alexey Marchenko Scouting Reports

Red Wings Director of Player Development, Jiri Fischer:

“Thanks to our Russian scout Nikolai Nikolov, who works for Moscow, he recommends this kid for the seventh round. “There’s this guy we have that’s already slipped through the cracks, but he’s smart, he wants to get better, he can skate, he can make good outlet passes and decisions with the puck, he’s committed, he’s got some leadership in him. Let’s give him a chance.”

Red Wings Assistant GM, Ryan Martin:

“No one really knew how good he could be. He stepped right into the American league and had an immediate impact. He’s a guy that plays a really simple game. He’s strong on his skates. He’s a big, strong guy. He makes a real simple, easy pass. He’ll take a hit to make a play. I like to compare him to a Brad Stuart type of defenceman. Just kind of a meat-and-potatoes guy who you can count on every night. He’ll block shots and play hard and make simple passes. He’s hard to play against.”

Mike Babcock to the Detroit Free Press in 2015:

“I like him. He’s never in the scoring chances against. I actually like him better after the game, when I watch the tape, than I like him during the game. He’s go to get quicker, but he’s really smart. In practice the other day, he was our best d-man in a drill down low, 2-on-1, where all kids we call up get eaten up alive. He was outstanding. You can say it’s just practice, but that drill isn’t. It exposes everybody, and he was really good at it.”

Alexey Marchenko Statistics

Born: 1992-01-02
Birthplace: Moskva, RUS
Age: 25
Position: D
Shoots: Right
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 209 lbs
 2007-08 Russia U16 (all) International-Jr-----|
 Russia U17 WHC-1751014|
 2008-09 CSKA Moskva-2 Russia3467222977|
 Russia U17 WHC-17503310|
 2009-10 CSKA Moskva KHL1000000|
 CSKA-Krasnaya Armiya Moskva MHL431123345926|
 2010-11 CSKA Moskva KHL220224-2|
 Krasnaya Armiya Moskva  MHL36533382833|
 2011-12 CSKA Moskva KHL60002-4|
 Krasnaya Armiya Moskva MHL5246102|
 2012-13 CSKA Moskva KHL444596-3|
 2013-14 Detroit Red Wings NHL100022|
 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL49315181411|
 2014-15 Detroit Red Wings NHL1311221|
 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL51317202622|
 2015-16 Detroit Red Wings NHL66291110-5|
 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL40002-2|
 Russia WC10123612|
 Russia (all) International10123612|
 2016-17 Detroit Red Wings NHL30066126|
 Russia WCup400000|