The Pittsburgh Penguins have been talking to the Edmonton Oilers about acquiring a player. However, rather than the hotly followed Jesse Puljujarvi, the Penguins acquired unsigned college defenseman John Marino from Edmonton for a conditional 2021 sixth-round pick. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford announced the trade late Friday morning.
Marino, 22, was Edmonton’s sixth-round pick in 2015 but remains unsigned as he played college hockey at Harvard. The move is likely an attempt to bolster the organizational depth which is thin and lacks legitimate defensive prospects at the AHL level. Last season, Marino scored 11 points (3g, 8a) for Harvard.
The Edmonton Journal ranked the mobile, puck-mover no better than Edmonton’s 22nd ranked prospect.
He possesses good size at 6-foot-2, 181 pounds. He had scored 31 points combined over his first two years at Harvard. Prior to his three-year stint at Harvard, Marino played one season in the USHL for the Tri-City Storm.
“John is a mobile defenseman who excels at moving the puck while also playing with an edge to his game,” said Rutherford. “We are excited to acquire him as we continue to add defensive depth to the organization. The next step is to work on getting a contract done with him.”
The move unlikely affects the Penguins NHL roster. Edmonton will receive the conditional sixth-round pick if the Penguins sign Marino or trade his rights.
It is interesting that Rutherford and new Edmonton GM Ken Holland are talking, especially after PHN’s report last month that the teams engaged in preliminary discussions about embattled forward Jesse Puljujarvi. Heat has again risen around the Puljujarvi situation.
For Marino, don’t rush out for a John Marino Penguins jersey unless you live in Wilkes-Barre. He is most likely a depth defenseman for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and has little chance to make the NHL roster soon. Being ranked so lowly in Edmonton’s pipeline should not bode well but defensemen with good size and tools can develop in leaps and bounds, so it’s not impossible for him to skate on Pittsburgh ice in the future.