The Devils have addressed every need on their checklist. They upgraded the goaltender position with Vitek Vanecek. They signed Ondrej Palat to give the top six a boost. The New Jersey Devils have made another splash move. This time this move bolsters the back end. The Devils have acquired defensemen John Marino from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defensemen Ty Smith and a 2023 Third Round Draft pick. This is huge for the Devils as it really bolsters the back end and stacks out the right side.
Tom Fitzgerald is very pleased with this move and went on to say, “John is a competitive, highly mobile defenseman who strengthens our back end,” Fitzgerald said. “He takes pride in his game away from the puck, and his puck management and ability to transition play will fit in nicely with our style and the strengths of our forward group. This is another move focused on improving our club today while also providing certainty and stability for roster flexibility as we continue to build.”
John Marino has spent the last three seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In January 2021, Marino signed a six-year extension with the club with an AAV of $4.4 million. Now that he is with the Devils, that extension is good until the 2026-27 season. The Devils get the blue liner in their lineup for the next five seasons.
John Marino finished his 2021-22 season with one goal, 24 assists, and 25 points. This ranked third on the team amongst all defensemen. His 24 assists was a career-high for the young blue liner. He would finish the year with two short-handed points, which ranked first among Penguins defensemen. Marino can eat big minutes as he averaged 20:38 minutes per game. That’s huge for the Devils’ blue line as they now have balance in the lineup. Marino finished the year with a Corsi For Percentage at 48% and an on-ice goals percentage at 45.3%. Throughout his career, Marino has had ten goals, 54 assists, and 64 points.
John Marino is a solid defenseman. While he is not the most offensively given player, he is solid on his own end. He is a top-four defensive defenseman and perfectly compliments the lineup. He is only 25 years old and has plenty of room to improve.
Despite having to part ways with young blue liner Ty Smith, this is a huge move for the Devils’ back end. The team getting a defensive defenseman who is under team control for the next five years is huge. He will make an immediate impact on the lineup. The right side of the lineup is stacked as it includes Dougie Hamilton, Damon Severson, and John Marino. Simon Nemec and Luke Hughes are around the corner, and the Devils now have a little core on the back end. The Devils’ defensive pairs could look like this entering the season:
Ryan Graves- Dougie Hamilton
Jonas Siegenthaler-Damon Severson
Brendan Smith-John Marino
Tom Fitzgerald had made moves to upgrade this roster and the Devils still have $12 million in cap space left to work with.