After just one NHL season, the Pittsburgh Penguins decided they would like to keep defenseman John Marino around for quite a while. The Penguins dished a six-year, $26.4 million to the young blueliner on the first official day of training camp, according to GM Jim Rutherford.
Marino, 23, had a breakout rookie year after the Penguins swung an innocuous trade with the Edmonton Oilers in the summer of 2019. Edmonton was about to lose their rights to Marino, and the Penguins gave up only a conditional sixth-round pick. Marino had just completed his third year at Harvard but didn’t appear likely to sign with Edmonton, four years after being drafted.
Marino’s deal carries a $4.4 AAV.
“We are very fortunate to have a young, skilled defenseman like John in our organization,” Rutherford said. “His rookie season proved he is a top-four defenseman with great hockey sense. We were impressed with his strong defensive play and look forward to watching him develop offensively.”
Marino’s deal will kick in next season, 2021-22, after his entry-level contract expires this July. As a second-year player, John Marino will not be eligible for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, either. So, Pittsburgh Penguins fans should see Marino in a Penguins sweater for a long time.
Last season, Marino played 56 games and scored six goals, 20 assists, and tied for a team-best plus-17. His 26 points were fourth-best among rookie defensemen, and he finished eighth in Calder Trophy voting (53 votes), including four third-place votes.
Marino is the third Penguins defenseman on a long-term contract. Marcus Pettersson signed a five-year deal ($4.025 million AAV) last January, which begins this season. Mike Matheson, who was acquired this offseason from the Florida Panthers for Patric Hornqvist, has six years remaining ($4.875 million AAV) on his contract. Brian Dumoulin also has three years remaining on his contract, which carries a $4.1 million AAV.
From the Pittsburgh Penguins press release:
The 6-foot-1, 181-pound blueliner historically had one of the best seasons by a rookie defenseman in team history during the 2019-20 campaign. He is one of just seven rookie defensemen in Penguins’ history to record 20 assists and 26 points. The six-game point streak (1G-6A) he strung together from Nov. 16-27, 2019, is tied for the second-longest point streak in franchise history by a first-year defenseman.
Marino, a native of North Easton, Massachusetts, made his postseason debut with Pittsburgh during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, appearing in four games in the Penguins’ series against the Montreal Canadiens, where he registered one assist.