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2015 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Harvard Commit John Marino

John Marino is committed to play college hockey for 2013 NCAA Champion Yale University.
John Marino is committed to play college hockey for 2013 NCAA Champion Yale University.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

John Marino

Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right
2014-15 Team: South Shore Kings (USPHL Premier)
College Commitment: Yale University (2016)
Hometown: North Easton, Mass.
Height/Weight: 6'0.5"/171
Date of Birth: 5/21/97
Final Central Scouting Ranking: 63

John Marino has been highly regarded for a few years now and there is good reason for the hype. He's a smooth-skating defenseman with excellent vision and strong poise and confidence with the puck.

Some have questioned his play in the defensive zone, but he's gotten much better at coverage in his own zone and has a good stick. He doesn't have the biggest frame, and could definitely stand to put on some added weight, but he does a nice job of containment and maximizes his physical tools. Pound-for-pound, he's as solid as they come.

He does a nice job bringing the puck out of his own zone and is effective on zone entries into the opposition's end. He's the type of player that can hold on to the puck due to his agility, stick skills and awareness of his surroundings on the ice.

Marino's stock somewhat fluttered back and forth this season in the USPHL Premier Division, but his solid play kept him consistently ranked in the mid-60s in the NHL Central Scouting Rankings. It's a top heavy league and some scouts questioned whether he was truly challenging himself game in and game out. However, the Yale commit really made a statement down the stretch.

In South Shore's playoff run, including a big series win over the Boston Junior Bruins, Marino was dynamite. He was excellent in all three zones at March's Beantown Spring Classic in what will likely be his final big showcase to scouts before June's NHL Draft.

Some observers are really high on Jake Massie's potential and his emergence in the second half of the season, but outside BC freshman Noah Hanifin, Marino is the top draft eligible defenseman in New England. Marino, who has been invited to attend the 2015 NHL Draft combine, performs well in all off-ice testing.

There is still some question about where Marino will play next year -- if he'll return to play for Scott Harlow's Kings in the USPHL or if the Catholic Memorial junior could accelerate. The Chicago Steel own his USHL rights. He will most likely join Keith Allain's Yale University Bulldogs for the 2016-17 season. Some of this will surely depend on the wishes of the NHL organization that drafts Marino in June.

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Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.