Up next in our by the numbers series is this talented Pittsburgh Penguins defender. His remarkable rookie year has made him a key member going forward.
There are rookie seasons, and then there are John Marino rookie seasons. What this Pittsburgh Penguins rookie did this season was nothing short of remarkable. Moreover, than that, it was precisely what was needed to help the Pens thrive. He will almost undoubtedly win the Penguins Rookie of the Year honors, and it couldn’t be better deserved.
His numbers this season are on par with someone that has been in the league for a few years. He played in 56 games, contributed 26 points, and had a +/- of 17. In addition to all that, he also saw just over 20 minutes of ice time each game. He has the third-highest ice time of any Penguins defender and tied with the best +/- on the team.
Marino’s story this season was one that only he would’ve believed. His Cinderella story begins way back when the Penguins traded from him in exchange for a draft pick to Edmonton. His freshman season didn’t come easy either, as he played more than enough games harvesting some kind of injury.
Pittsburgh Penguins by the numbers: The Rookie, John Marino.
In an interview that Marino conducted with a few pre-selected reporters last month, he stated that this season was filled with quite a lot of “pinch yourself moments.” I’m sure he wasn’t the only one pinching himself as we the fans and probably his teammates were as well.
The outcome of Marino’s season so far has plenty to do with him but also his coaching staff. To push a young defender can be a tricky task because that position traditionally takes time to grow into. Sullivan and Co did an excellent job of easing him along all while pushing him, especially when injuries came into play this season.
I, for one, will be interested to see how the rest of the campaign goes for Marino but, more importantly, his sophomore NHL season. He has shown the league what he can do; now he just needs to keep it going and help sure up that defensive backline for years to come.