Marco Rossi’s NHL career has not started according to anyone’s plan. With just one point earned in 16 games, a 12:26 TOI average, and just 11 shots on goal, the disappointment from players, Minnesota Wild management, and fans, has been felt.
Because of this incredible underperformance, now the narrative of him potentially heading back to the AHL to gain some confidence and actually put points on the board, has been steadily getting louder and louder with every game. And with Rossi a healthy scratch the last two Wild games, now, it seems that the time to make a decision for the near future is approaching.
“We’re discussing different options for Marco, but just because he’s missed the last couple of games doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world,” Wild GM Bill Guerin said Wednesday. “That doesn’t mean we’re kicking him to the curb or anything like that. It’s part of being a young player in this league. It doesn’t always go your way.
“He’s been a good sport through the whole thing. He continues to work hard and try to do the right things. He’s responsible in his defensive zone. He competes there. He knows what he’s doing. And that’s usually the hardest thing for a young player to really get hold of. His production is something that hopefully will come. But we have to help him get there.”
That is Rossi’s bread and butter. He was drafted as a prospect that cares more about his two-way game than a lot of teenagers and it has shown in the NHL. But the only problem is that that has somewhat caused the offensive drive to dry up and as Guerin said, he needs some help to get that boost in being able to put up some numbers on the stat sheet.
Maybe the AHL is where he can do that.
“You go down and you play in situations that you’re not getting up top,” Guerin said. “You actually get to handle the puck and play with it and you feel good about yourself. And then you go back up and you have to try to carry that with you. It’s always a kick in the gut when you first go down. You’re allowed 12 to 24 hours to feel bad for yourself, but then you gotta get yourself going.
“But we’re not there yet. I can’t tell you something would happen in the next 24, 48 hours or in the next week. It’s something that’s an ongoing discussion on what’s best for Marco. But he’s missed, what, two games? It’s not the end of the world.”
As Guerin says, this isn’t the end of the world and even if Rossi is sent down to the minors soon, he most likely will finish the season with the Wild in St. Paul. It’s just a matter of getting going and fixing a problem that has happened in the first month or so of the season.
Things can change every day, but right now, Rossi isn’t playing any NHL games and is just practicing with the team, trying to learn and get better as fast as he can. Maybe all he needs is a couple AHL games to score, or maybe (the worst scenario) he has lost so much confidence that it takes a substantial amount of time in the minors to get points on the board.
Please, all we want is the best for Marco and for him to be that two-way top-six center that he has been projected to be ever since the Wild drafted him two years ago.