Marco Rossi has not been what we envisioned at the beginning of the season as the Minnesota Wild’s top prospect being able to play in the NHL full-time. His production has not been there and that has led him to be a healthy scratch for three consecutive games and even when he is in the lineup, playing bottom-six minutes.
That leads us to the all-important question right now: Should Rossi get sent back down and play in the AHL for the Iowa Wild? We went around the staff room and got some answers.
Eric: I don’t think going to the AHL is going to help Rossi right now. The main argument I’ve seen for sending the player down is to get his confidence going — most people aren’t doubting his ability to play at the NHL level. But Rossi himself has said he doesn’t want to go to Iowa and that he doesn’t think it will help — which makes me think a demotion could do more harm than good, even if it’s made clear that it’s not because the organization doesn’t believe in him.
On the other hand, Rossi has been shuffled around in the lineup and his utilization has been questionable at the best of times, and it’s possible that being given a consistent, top-line role would be good for him at this point in time. But I just can’t shake the feeling that a player who is clearly suffering from a confidence issue and doesn’t want to go to the AHL would only have his confidence dealt another blow by being sent to Iowa.
Thomas: There has to be a significant weighing of positives and negatives when thinking about sending a young player with such high potential, back down to the minors. But after being a healthy scratch for the last three consecutive games, if Rossi is not going to get used in the NHL, the AHL is probably the best place for him to be. Obviously, we would prefer for him to get more opportunity with the Wild, but we have to be a little realistic about it.
And then, hopefully, he can get some of that offensive juice back, have a few multi-point games, and force the Wild’s hand to promote him once again. But this only works in theory if he takes it well — there is evidence that Rossi is probably the most level-headed hockey player to ever live, after having gone what he has gone through — and can re-establish his confidence playing in Iowa. Worst case scenario, this is a disaster, and he can’t re-find his game down there either. At least he would get playing time.
Grace: Gosh. This is hard for me to answer because my actual take is: No, but they should be playing him actual minutes and giving him an opportunity to learn on the job. Rossi doesn’t want to go down, he believes he’s gaining NHL experience by BEING in the NHL, even just being in NHL practices. I want that for him. Listen, I understand that he hasn’t gone completely without any opportunity to play up the lineup, he spent someee time with playing with Boldy, and they weren’t really racking up points. That being said, sitting every night/being stuck as a perennial fourth-liner can’t be the solution either. I don’t think he’s being scared straight when he’s sat out, this kid isn’t taking the job lightly. If there’s no scenario where Evason actually gives him some opportunities again, then yeah, I guess the AHL is the compromise. He should play on the PP. He should be getting big minutes. But I do think that’s a real shame.
Matt: There’s a more significant developmental philosophy question about playing time versus playing against better opponents, but I don’t think anyone knows the correct answer.
We know that Marco Rossi has been very unproductive in his NHL up to this point. In 16 games, he only got a single point (at least it was a primary assist), but it’s tough to tell if it’s due to a run of bad luck or just him not succeeding in his role.
He was highly productive in the AHL, but Dean Evason has kept that from translating into an automatic top-six role on the team. He’s only averaged around 12 minutes a night —when he’s even in the lineup— and Rossi is at the top of the list of guys to shave minutes off of. On the second night of the season, he only got 4:33 of time in the blowout disaster against the Los Angeles Kings.
I’m a big backer of Dean Evason; he plays a system of hockey that puts the team in the best position to succeed and the players like him. But, if he isn’t going to allow a player of Rossi’s caliber to thrive —his most common linemates are Connor Dewar, Mason Shaw, and Brandon Duhaime— then you need to get Rossi out from under the shadow of Evason’s disapproval. Send him to the AHL and let him play; I don’t see how he can improve with his skates collecting dust.
For pity’s sake, we only got under 10 minutes of Rossi with Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, and it got Rossi the only point of his NHL career. Send him to the AHL so we don’t have to think about what we could have every night.
What do you think? Should Rossi go to Iowa? Let us know!