The Pittsburgh Penguins failed to get past the Qualifying Round last season and haven’t made it past the second round of the playoffs since winning the Stanley Cup in 2016-2017. Ranked 10th in scoring last season, the Penguins were near the middle of the pack in goals against. In a move that should solidify the defense for years to come, the Penguins extended the contract of defenseman John Marino.
The six-year extension will pay John Marino an average of $4.4 million. The 23-year-old was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2015, but played at Harvard before the Oilers traded him to the Penguins for a sixth-round pick in 2019-2020. During his rookie season last year, John Marino was very impressive, logging 20 minutes of ice time per game and scored 26 points in 56 games.
With only one season left on his first contract, the extension won’t kick in until the start of 2021-2022. General manager Jim Rutherford is elated to have Marino locked up, realizing he’s a top defenseman who is still developing on the offensive end. John Marino is the second youngest of the defenseman on the Penguins roster and also the second most productive in terms of offensive output and ice time. Kris Letang led with 15 goals and 29 assists and more than 25 minutes of ice time per game. Marino’s six goals was only six less than all other defensemen on the roster, outside of Letang.
At 33 years old, Letang is the elder stateman of the defense. The 23-year-old John Marino is likely to pass Letang in the near future as the top overall defenseman on the team and with a six-year extension, should be the leader of the defense for years to come. With a more solid defense and a little additional scoring punch, the Penguins could be a team to watch, rising into serious contenders.