Rumour Mill: With Zadorov gone, Canucks interested in Devils defenceman John Marino?

Photo credit:© Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
14 days ago
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The NHL news cycle refuses to slow down.
It’s been a busy week in Vancouver Canucksland, with the team clearing Ilya Mikheyev off the books, signing Teddy Blueger, Dakota Joshua, and Tyler Myers all within the past few days. I haven’t slept in three days, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Friday’s news came right from the horse’s mouth, as during a late morning media availability, Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin was happy to share that defenceman Nikita Zadorov will be testing free agency.
“I can’t overpay one single player and Nikita Zadorov was extremely good for us in the playoffs and a character guy and we did our best and he decided he wanted to go somewhere else,” the Canucks GM said.
The Canucks acquired Zadorov in November, and he was a great fit in Vancouver. He brought size to the blue line and was vital to the Canucks’ success in the playoffs, where he tallied four goals and four assists through 13 games. He will be missed, but everyone has a walkaway number in a negotiation.
With Zadorov heading to free agency, there are bound to be some new names connected to the Canucks. Brenden Dillon, for example, has made it clear already that he would love to sign with his hometown team. He’d be cheaper than Zadorov, and actually put up similar on-ice results to the hulking blue liner in the regular season. We wrote about why we felt the Canucks should let Zadorov walk and sign Dillon instead last week. Read it here.
Aside from Dillon, there is another name out there, and he wouldn’t need to be acquired in free agency. Instead, he could be acquired at any minute now, as the New Jersey Devils have informed teams that John Marino is available via trade with the Devils expected to ink Brett Pesce to a contract on July 1.
And today, we got this tweet from Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli:
We’ve known in the past that the Canucks’ management group are fans of John Marino. Aside from the obvious connection — Rutherford signed Marino as a college free agent during his time in Pittsburgh — the Canucks were rumoured to be in on Marino during the summer of 2022 before he was ultimately dealt to the Devils in exchange for Ty Smith and a third-round pick.
Marino’s time in New Jersey hasn’t exactly gone to plan, and with three more seasons at a cap hit of $4.4 million, the 27-year-old right-shot defenceman could be available for relatively cheap in a trade. Just a few days ago, we made the case for why the Canucks should try to trade for Marino. You can read that by clicking here. Here’s a snippet from that article:
It wasn’t an easy season in New Jersey, with injuries to Dougie Hamilton and Jack Hughes hampering the success of the team. The Devils floundered in a very tough Metropolitan Division, finding themselves on the outside looking in when it came to the playoff picture. Naturally, that’s led to some shakeups in the roster, with the Devils already making a big splash in acquiring Jacob Markstrom from the Flames.
In the midst of all of this, John Marino put up a steady, solid, if unspectacular campaign. Finishing as the second-highest scoring defenceman on the team behind Luke Hughes, Marino played the most penalty kill minutes of anyone on the Devils roster. His 25 points won’t set the world alight, but that production was still good in the context of the Devils year. Where he stood out was his play on the back end, both on the penalty kill and even strength. Marino has good mobility, allowing him to defend the rush well and make more puck retrievals against opposing forechecks.
Currently, the Canucks’ blue line looks something like this:
Obviously, they would like to address the bottom four of their defence group, and it will certainly be interesting to see which route(s) they take to address it. The NHL draft is tonight, and Monday’s free agency period is just around the corner. Let the chaos begin continue!

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