Detroit waives key penalty killer Marchenko

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Alexey Marchenko — signed to a two-year, $2.9 million extension last summer — has been placed on waivers by the Red Wings.

Marchenko, 25, was waived to clear room for fellow d-man Brendan Smith, who will soon be activated off IR. Marchenko hasn’t suited up for a game since getting nearly 20 minutes in a loss to Buffalo on Jan. 20.

His (potential) departure comes one year after a breakout campaign. He posted career highs across the board in ’15-16, scoring 11 points in 66 games while averaging 16:50 TOI per night. Marchenko also appeared in three playoff games during an opening-round loss to Tampa Bay.

As mentioned in the headline, Marchenko’s been a focal point of Detroit’s penalty kill this season, despite only appearing in 30 games (he missed a few weeks this season with an upper-body injury). He sits third on the club in shorthanded ice time and, among Wings d-men, only Danny DeKeyser kills penalties with more regularity.

Marchenko’s cap hit is $1.45 million, so that could detract teams from putting in a waiver claim. That said, he’s also relatively young, a right-handed shot and a big body — 6-foot-3, 210 pounds — so there could be some interest.