Tom Fitzgerald, the general manager of the New Jersey Devils, told reporters on Friday that he was still looking for an experienced defenseman.
John Marino and Ty Smith were traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday in return for a 2023 third-round selection pick.
There is a definite need for a right winger in New Jersey, where the team failed to make the playoffs last season. Marino, 25, has five years left on a contract that has a team-friendly salary-cap hit of $4.4 million.
The Penguins made a trade Saturday, shipping John Marino to the Devils in exchange for defenseman Ty Smith and a 2023 third-round pick.
— Post-Gazette Sports (@PGSportsNow) July 16, 2022
Described by Fitzgerald as “competitive and highly mobile,” defenseman John was added to the team because of his versatility. “He takes care in his game away from the puck, and his puck management and ability to transition play will fit in beautifully with our style and the strengths of our forward group.”
As a defenseman and a former first-round draught pick of the Devils, Smith is still only 22 years old and had a disappointing season. The Pittsburgh Penguins have a veteran-heavy squad, which gives him a chance to develop as an offensive defenseman without having to play on the top line.
“Ty holds great potential for us. To get him, we obviously had to give up Marino, but we’re optimistic since he’s an excellent NHL player: “A video news conference held by Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall revealed as much on Wednesday. But we’re confident in our decision, despite the fact that we’re taking a risk.
Ondrej Palat and Vitek Vanecek have been added to a core group of young players, many of whom are past first-round draught picks, by the Devils this month as they continue their rebuilding efforts. He’ll be on the right side of the second pairing, and Marino is a factor in this. Damon Severson, Ryan Graves, Dougie Hamilton, and the rest of the defensive line will now have him as a teammate.
Given that the Penguins have repurchased several of their high-priced veterans this summer, they’re on the other side of the NHL equation. Hextall was able to acquire veteran Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry later in the day Saturday after signing Smith, who is under contract through the 2019-20 season on his entry-level deal.
Marino and Reilly Walsh, his college defensive partner, could reconnect in New Jersey. Before moving on to the NHL, the two played together for Harvard University, and Walsh, who last season played for New Jersey’s AHL affiliate, was called up by the Devils just in time to play one game before the schedule ended, will have the opportunity to make the NHL team in training camp.
“This is another move focused on improving our club today, but also giving security and stability for roster flexibility as we continue to build,” Fitzgerald said.
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