The New Jersey Devils continue to reshape their roster. General manager Tom Fitzgerald announced the Devils acquired defenceman John Marino from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenceman Ty Smith and a 2023 third-round pick.
🚨 TRADE ALERT 🚨
Big John is comin’ to Jerz. 😤
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) July 16, 2022
John Marino Acquired By New Jersey
Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald has continued to preach about making moves to improve his hockey team. Specifically finding those “hockey type” deals similar to the one that brought Jonas Siegenthaler to New Jersey. Well, Fitzgerald found one of those hockey-type deals when he traded for a controllable asset in defenceman John Marino.
Marino will not make many headlines, but he is a rock-solid, top 4 defenceman. With the Penguins up against the salary cap, Marino was a target of trade talks per David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period. He has five years remaining on a reasonable salary cap hit of $4.4 million. Now the Devils are looking much better defensively with Marino in the lineup. Fitzgerald has solidified his top four.
“John is a competitive, highly mobile defenseman who strengthens our back end,” Fitzgerald said in a press release on Saturday. “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.”
Combine all that with the fact that Marino is a defensive defenceman, the Devils have gotten something now they have not had in a while. A player that can allow someone like Damon Severson or say Simon Nemec when he makes the team rush the puck more. In addition to his skating ability, Marino has a great first pass. This will allow the Devils to break out of their zone better getting the puck quickly to their skilled offensive players. Not only that but Marino can play in all situations considering he does not take a lot of penalties.
Last season with the Penguins, Marino recorded 25 points (one goal and a career-high 24 assists). Including two shorthanded points. With the Devils special teams so poor, he insistently improves their penalty killing.
Not only that but Fitzgerald adds another player that is 25 and younger. This is exactly the type of player he wants on the Devils. New Jersey is a young team, but their core is around that age. Not only that but Fitzgerald has accomplished a goal by revamping the defence. With the addition of Marino, the Devils’ defence is much bigger as they average 6′ 3″. That is a massive difference from years past.
Ty Smith On the Move
In order to get something, you have to give up something. That something was Ty Smith. The Devils had high hopes for Smith after being drafted 17th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft. Many thought he would make the NHL right away. He looked on track to be a top-four defenceman in the league. Unfortunately, things just did not work out for him in New Jersey. It was a tough season last year for Smith, who had just 20 points (five goals and 15 assists) and was a minus-26. In 114 games Smith recorded 43 points (seven goals and 36 assists).
Not Done Yet
As Tom Fitzgerald said during his press conference on Friday, he is not done improving his hockey team. Marino might not be the last move the Devils make. He has already added Vitek Vanecek, Brendan Smith, Ondrej Palat, and now Marino. Giving this team the leadership and experience needed to win.
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