New Jersey Devils: John Marino Trade Continues to Pay Off in Stanley Cup Playoffs

John Marino #6 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Islanders at the Prudential Center on September 27, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
John Marino #6 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Islanders at the Prudential Center on September 27, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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John Marino has been a revelation for the New Jersey Devils in the 2022-2023 season. The Devils were up 1-0 in the second period of Game 7 against the New York Rangers on Monday night. When Tomas Tatar scored off of an incredible assist from a Devils defenseman to put the Devils up by two, everyone took notice of John Marino.

The 25-year-old Marino has been a reliable blueliner all season, outside of time missed due to injury. He often slides under the radar. The underrated, steady defenseman isn’t known for generating a lot of offense or racking up points, but what he does defensively is a game changer.

The Devils traded Ty Smith and a third round pick for Marino last summer. Marino came over from Pittsburgh and joined a young team with a core consisting of Jack Hughes, captain Nico Hischier, and Dawson Mercer. At the time, Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said, “John is a competitive, highly mobile defenseman who strengthens our back end.”

Marino’s hockey IQ is unparalleled. He thinks quickly and adapts to the game situation; meeting challenges head on. His awareness of the puck, where his teammates are, where his opponents are going, and the flow of the game is instinctual.

Marino has pulled his weight in the playoffs. The Devils expected this, considering his playoff experience with the Penguins. He’s been crucial to the penalty kill — which was more important than ever in Round 1 because the Devils took a lot of penalties, and the Rangers dominated during their power plays in the first two games of the series.

In Round 1, Marino continued to excel at what he’s done well all season long. He blocked shots, took away chances, and cleared the puck whenever he was on the ice. In the Game 5 shut out on home ice, Marino blocked a shot from the dangerous Mika Zibanejad during a Rangers power play.

In Monday’s Game 7 win, Marino had two assists. On the play where Tatar scored, Marino found a lane to drive to the net and took a shot that went wide. He stuck with it, followed the puck into the corner, and fed it back toward the goal where Tatar waited. Marino created that opportunity.

Next. Pucks and Pitchforks Second Round Predictions. dark

Expect Marino to make meaningful contributions in the Devils’ defensive zone in Round 2 but don’t be surprised if he contributes offensively, too. He has momentum, and momentum is lethal. Sit back and enjoy, Devils fans. John Marino will be around for awhile.