Well, that didn’t take long. The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled prospect defenseman John Marino Wednesday morning after they placed winger Bryan Rust on LTIR. Marino was the final cut of Penguins training camp Monday.
Marino, 22, played in five of the Penguins six preseason games. The rookie from Harvard had two assists and was a team-high plus-five. The Penguins acquired Marino from the Edmonton Oilers for a conditional sixth-round choice in 2021. Marino signed his two-year entry-level contract on Aug. 8. The 6-foot-1, 181-pound defender had 42 points (7g, 35a) in his three-year college career.
Rust was injured in the Penguin’s final preseason game when he blocked a shot, which appeared to hurt his hand. Rust shook his hand in pain before leaving the ice.
The Penguins will be able to exceed the salary cap by just under $3.5 million because of Rust’s placement on LTIR. Marino counts $925,000 against the cap.
The Penguins weren’t serious about using Juuso Riikola at wing, were they? Otherwise, why would they call up a ninth defenseman? The move leaves the Penguins with just 12 healthy forwards and no reserves, but three extra defensemen.
Riikola worked at left wing in practice on Tuesday, but no one really took it too seriously. The Penguins have not had many defensemen play both positions. Phil Bourque shifted back and forth in the late 1980s. Ian Moran did so in the later 1990s. Richard Lintner did so briefly in 2002, and Brooks Orpik was infamously placed at wing by coach Michael Therrien.
The Penguins are a bit confounding at the moment. The supposedly warming trade market has not yet born fruit.
The Pittsburgh Penguins currently have a little over $2 million in salary-cap space while Rust is injured.