Penguins place Bryan Rust on injured reserve, recall rookie John Marino
The Penguins officially placed forward Bryan Rust on long-term injured reserve on Wednesday and recalled rookie defenseman John Marino from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Rust has a suspected left hand injury which was suffered during Saturday’s preseason finale against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Marino, 22, appeared in five preseason games and recorded two assists. The Penguins acquired his signing rights from the Edmonton Oilers this past offseason and signed him to a two-year entry-level contract.
General manager Jim Rutherford had said he expected Marino to begin the season in the NHL. A day prior, the Penguins had assigned him to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a transaction which allowed the club to become salary-cap compliant by Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
Marino, who said he made the roughly four-hour drive back and fourth between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre between the assignment and subsequent recall, was confident he could make the NHL roster.
“The people that have seen me play, I hope they expected me to make the team,” said Marino, 22. “I know I was kind of not a well-known name coming in. But I was hoping to surprise a lot of people. If I stuck to my game, I think it would work out.”
What coach Mike Sullivan must work out is how to align the nine defensemen he has at his disposal. On Wednesday, Kris Letang skated with Brian Dumoulin, Jack Johnson was teamed with Justin Schultz and Marcus Pettersson was paired with Erik Gubranson. Marino, Juuso Riikola and Chad Ruhwedel rotated on a fourth pairing.
Sullivan didn’t share many particulars when asked how he’ll deal with a nonet of defensemen.
“It can be a challenge but my approach with our guys has always been just trying to be straight forward with them and communicate to everyone where they stand and what our gameplan is,” Sullivan said. “We’ll do that with all of our players. If we’re going to be the team that we believe that we can come, everyone is going to have embrace their roles.”
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .