A lot has been made of the prospect pool for the Minnesota Wild and no one has been hyped up more than the pair of Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi. So when the latter was sent down to the AHL for increased conditioning as he returned from a terrifying COVID scare that prevented him from playing hockey for several months; and the former was injured in a meaningless pre-season game, most fans were trying to be ultra patient.
It certainly helps when the current first team is sporting a 11-5-0 record as they contend for the top spot in the Central Division early on, but their patience was rewarded on Friday night as Boldy returned from injury to team up with Rossi on the top line of the AHL Iowa Wild—and then destroyed the opposing defense into a smoldering pile of hopeless dreams.
The end result doesn’t really matter (Iowa defeated the Tuscon Roadrunners by a score of 5-0 though), but it’s the production and innate display of their excellent tools that should translate to the top level, that really gives us collective fan goosebumps.
Rossi has been doing this kind of stuff for a while now and frankly deserves even more hype than he is currently getting, as he added three points last night to make it 14 on the season through just 10 games, leading his team in points—in his first taste of professional hockey in North America. But it was Boldy’s return to the ice that was given the headline treatment.
Within the first half of the game, we were all treated to the overwhelming sense of a special player climbing up the ranks and on the cusp of bringing his talents to the big leagues.
Oh, and he didn’t just stop with one goal in the game, he got another in the final period.
And you thought it was just goals from Boldy? Well, you would be mistaken as he set up Iowa for its first goal of the game just a few minutes into the game.
That feed from Boldy is NSFW. Decent first point of the season pic.twitter.com/OwQpVXhWRA— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) November 20, 2021
Boldy finished two goals, an assist, three shots on goal, and an interference penalty in the second period, just to sprinkle a little bit of extra physicality on the top of this season debut sundae.
If he keeps up his current level—of course we’re not expecting three points per game but something relatively close against a team that isn’t the minor-league Arizona Coyotes—then we shouldn’t be at all shocked if he gets his well-deserved call-up to Minnesota in a month or two. His contract clock is already ticking, so it’s not like the Wild are playing around with sliding his entry-level deal to another year.
The 20-year-old already earned 18 points in 14 games last season after his impressive Boston College career came to an end. What else can he show? And it only makes us more fidgety seeing Rossi partner up with him on the same line in Iowa after the two developed some chemistry in the Minnesota pre-season.
Bringing up both of them at the same time, or even just one of them, will require an open spot on the Wild and currently, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious one. Jordan Greenway was assumingly the odd man out, but he’s played well since his own return from injury. Victor Rask has re-developed his chemistry with Kirill Kaprizov, but we never know how long that will last. And even waiver claim and hometown kid Rem Pitlick has created his own spot on the team. There are just too many serviceable forwards for this team’s management to opt into giving the young kids a spot.
The season is long, so we never know about future injuries or underperformance that will open up those spots, so maybe they can just hang out a little bit longer and rip up the AHL together before bringing their talents to St. Paul.