Former Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, now President of Hockey Operations with the Vancouver Canucks has long believed Pittsburgh defenseman John Marino is a special player with a #1 pairing ceiling.

Meanwhile, the Penguins’ current brass likes Marino but they don’t see Marino in the same breathe by any means that the Penguins former GM did and still does. That has had Rutherford seeing an opening and exploring avenues to acquire Marino from his former club.

Top NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman first reported Saturday night on the Canucks interest in Marino, though, Friedman casted some doubt that a deal will get done by the deadline.

Multiple NHL sources say the Penguins have been “receptive” to the Canucks interest in Marino.

As the trade deadline inches closer, the Penguins have been viewed around the league as much more inclined to spend assets on a top-6/top-9 caliber winger with term than doing anything significant on the rental market.

There’s room for a potential match here.

Vancouver is ears [hide] on a number of top-6 wingers from Brock Boeser and Conor Garland being the most prominent names Vancouver is shopping around in hockey deals.

Boeser, 26, carries an $5.875 million cap hit and is an RFA at seasons end. Garland acquired last summer by the previous regime, has four more years left on his deal with a $4.95 million cap hit.

Even if the Marino’s employer doesn’t view him this season, NHL sources say for the Penguins to move Marino in-season, they need to value him as a long-term No. 1 d-man like Rutherford see’s him and any discussion should start with either To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!