When Marco Rossi was sent down to the AHL at the beginning of the season, not making the Minnesota Wild’s roster, some of the fan base were upset they wouldn’t get to watch their top prospect straight away. But for Rossi himself, he simply viewed it as part of the process.
Considering that he took almost a full year off of playing professional hockey, due to a COVID-caused diagnosis of myocarditis, maybe a couple dozen games in the AHL isn’t the worst way to get back up to speed. We knew the skill was there, but just wanted it faster.
Well, Rossi is now in Minnesota (with Matt Boldy) and is set to make his NHL debut on the road against the Boston Bruins on Thursday. For him, he wasn’t focused on any call-up to the NHL, it was all about the process of development and getting better for Iowa.
“I trust the process 100 percent,” Rossi said. “I wasn’t waiting for it because if I was always waiting and looking at my phone, then it would take a long time. So I wasn’t really thinking about Minnesota, I was just thinking Iowa, and that’s the best thing to do because you’re not thinking much about it. … I feel more ready because I now have 20 more games in me.
“When I play in Iowa, you never know when the call-up is going to come, so my mind was in Iowa. I tried to get better there, and I wasn’t waiting for a call-up. I was just practicing my game.”
Well, “just practicing” his game was good enough to lead the team in scoring with 23 points in 21 games.
Whether the 20-year-old center and his prospect buddy Boldy are going to remain on the Wild’s roster once forwards like Jordan Greenway (COVID protocol) and Joel Eriksson Ek (lower-body injury) return back into the lineup, is still to be seen. But they will be given plenty of opportunity to earn that chance, since they’re already listed among the top-nine forwards, with skilled players, and are going to be on the Wild’s power play on Thursday.