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PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Pittsburgh Penguins are betting big on defenseman John Marino.

The team signed the 23-year-old Marino to a six-year contract extension on Sunday that carries an average annual value of $4.4 million.

The deal caps a meteoric rise for Marino, who was acquired from Edmonton in July 2019 in exchange for a sixth-round pick. Marino impressed as a rookie last season, scoring six goals to go with 20 assists in 56 games to go with a plus-17 rating. Marino is the sixth rookie defenseman in team history to register 20 assists.

The contract starts immediately and runs through the 2026-27 season.

“We are very fortunate to have a young, skilled defenseman like John in our organization,” Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement. “His rookie season proved he is a top-four defenseman with great hockey sense. We were impressed with his strong defensive play and look forward to watching him develop offensively.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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