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The NCAA has been Pittsburgh’s saving grace

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The Penguins have acquired the rights to Harvard defenseman John Marino from the Edmonton Oilers and after they signal him, he’ll be the newest school product to assist a prospect pipeline that has been decimated by years of Stanley Cup runs.John Marino|Richard T Gagnon/Getty ImagesAfter years of chasing – and successful – Stanley Cups, the Pittsburgh Penguins have discovered themselves with one of many barest prospect cabinets within the NHL. Although the NHL draft at present options seven rounds, the Penguins haven’t made greater than six choices in any given yr since 2012 – after they hosted the draft and traded Jordan Staal to Carolina for the eighth total choose (Derrick Pouliot), Brian Dumoulin and Brandon Sutter.
Till this summer season, Pittsburgh had solely picked within the first spherical as soon as since 2012 and that participant, Kasperi Kapanen, was traded to Toronto within the Phil Kessel deal. If there was one saving grace for the Penguins, it has been the NCAA and the group went to that properly once more right now by buying and selling for the rights to Harvard defenseman John Marino.
Initially drafted out of the USPHL by the Edmonton Oilers, Marino has spent the previous three seasons at Harvard, the place his bodily, puckmoving sport was a boon for the Crimson. His numbers aren’t staggering (he had 11 factors this previous season in 33 video games), but it surely’s value noting that Harvard additionally had Adam Fox and New Jersey Devils choose Reilly Walsh on the blueline. That pair completed 1-2 in crew scoring, if you happen to can consider it.
Marino nonetheless has a yr of faculty eligibility left and was slated to be a captain for Harvard subsequent season, although Fox was too and he has already signed with the New York Rangers. And the way in which the Penguins are speaking, they need Marino to show professional now.
“We’re excited to accumulate him as we proceed so as to add defensive depth to the group,” mentioned GM Jim Rutherford. “The following step is to work on getting a contract accomplished with him.”
The worth for Marino was not steep – Edmonton will get a conditional sixth-round draft choose in 2021 for the 22-year-old’s rights and given the sooner rumblings that Marino didn’t plan on signing with the Oilers, this was the best transfer for GM Ken Holland. For the reason that situation on the choose is that Marino should signal with the Penguins (or have his rights traded by Pittsburgh), it feels pretty secure that Edmonton is getting that sixth-rounder.
For the Penguins, that is virtually a free prospect and one who might be not removed from contributing on the NHL stage. It’s additionally a pleasant asset that comes from the NCAA ranks, a properly Pittsburgh has gone to a few instances lately to make up the group’s draft hole. Conor Sheary, who performed 4 years at UMass, was an undrafted free agent when he joined the Penguins group in 2014. Shortly thereafter, he grew to become part of back-to-back Stanley Cup groups, discovering chemistry with the person himself, Sidney Crosby. Carter Rowney additionally gained a Cup with the Penguins, who signed him as a free agent out of North Dakota again in 2016.
Extra just lately, the Penguins gained the school free company derby for energy ahead Zach Aston-Reese, who grew to become a sizzling commodity after a large senior yr at Northeastern noticed him put up 63 factors in 38 video games for the Huskies. After which there’s backup goalie Casey DeSmith, who signed with the Penguins after three seasons with the College of New Hampshire. DeSmith grew to become vital this previous season when starter Matt Murray was injured.
So what’s the upside on Marino? Given his abilities, he’ll be capable to contribute in Pittsburgh quickly and even when it’s on the underside pairing, it’s a win for the Penguins.
Profitable for thus lengthy can have a detrimental impact on a crew’s prospect pipeline, but it surely success may entice expertise to a company. Clearly the Oilers weren’t positive if they may signal Marino as soon as his school profession ended, whereas the Penguins will need to have at the least a little bit of confidence that they will. That kinda says all of it, doesn’t it?
Tags: edmonton oilers, free company, NCAA, pittsburgh penguins, prospectsConnect: Concerning the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect professional at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all known as his home. He lives in Toronto along with his spouse and children the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.

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