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Wilderness Walk: What’s next for Marco Rossi?

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NHL: NOV 17 Penguins at Wild

The Minnesota Wild are struggling to get their scoring under control and have now sunk into the realm of mediocre gameplay as they try to solidify a playoff spot this Spring.

With that in mind, and the slight bit of panic, many fans have been calling for the Wild to recall Marco Rossi and have the team’s top prospect return to the NHL. In his first 16 games this season, Rossi was not able to produce anything offensively — he got one single assist — but was responsible enough defensively to still stick around for a little bit longer as his pointless streak went on.

He was sent down to the AHL where now he has scored 26 points in 25 games. Only Calgary Flames prospect Jakob Pelletier has a higher point-per-game ratio than Rossi among all AHL forwards under 21 years old. Simply put, he’s been dominating at a very young age. Hell, he’s already fifth on the Iowa Wild in scoring but has played significantly fewer games than three of the four scorers ahead of him.

So with this rejuvenation of confidence in Rossi and the NHL team struggling, The Athletic’s Joe Smith went to visit the AHL Wild and head coach Tim Army to see how Rossi is doing.

As of right now, there isn’t a timeline for his return to the NHL, but Rossi is being such a key player for Iowa and getting buckets of ice-time compared to the scraps he was getting up with the Wild. Smith puts it plainly in his article:

The Wild are healthy up front, and when they’ve had injuries, they’ve mostly been to wings — not centers. And the team sees that Rossi is in a really good place, so they don’t want to mess with that. If there’s a move at the trade deadline that creates an opening, though, you’d imagine Rossi returning would be part of a discussion.

Army thinks he’s ready when the time comes.

“He’s in a far better place than when he showed up,” Army said. “He knows this is a long-term process. There’s a lot of hockey out in front of him. This is just part of it. This is the part to get him where he ultimately wants to be.”

“We’re happy with what he’s doing,” Guerin said. “The thing about Marco is that he trusts us. He knows we’re doing the best thing for him. We’re not mad at him. We’re just trying to help him.

“We could have kept Marco and had him grind it out. But that’s not good for him either. When he’s ready and there’s room, he’ll be in the mix with other players. We’re not saying he’s coming up at any time, but he’ll get a shot again.” — The Athletic

There’s just no room for him right now, but there can be a spot opening up if the Wild move a couple pieces around at the NHL trade deadline.

That’s Wild

  • In other news down in Iowa, goaltender Jesper Wallstedt just earned the title of AHL Goaltender of the Month after saving almost everything in the month of January. [Hockey Wilderness]

Off the trail...

  • A report came out that there is a significant drop of NHL viewership in the United States, but what’s behind the numbers? [Yahoo Sports]
  • Yikes. Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is out indefinitely as he undergoes back surgery. [NBC Sports]