In a year that’s seen a number of exciting rookies enter the league, the Minnesota Wild are set to add two more to the fray. These rookies are center Marco Rossi and left winger Matt Boldy. Rossi was the ninth overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft and is widely considered one of the top NHL prospects. Boldy was also a high draft selection, being taken at 12th overall in the 2019 NHL draft by the Wild.
This opportunity may have come sooner for Rossi if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. He tested positive for it in 2020, and suffered some intense long-term effects. The scariest of these effects was heart inflammation that resulted in him having to take a break from hockey. Luckily for him, he managed to make a full recovery and resume his playing career. Although it likely cost him a chance to play last season, he finally has the chance to make his mark on the league. Rossi receives such high praise for his game because of his incredible offensive ability. What’s most notable about his offensive game is how he’s able to set up his teammates for high-quality chances. He just has a great hockey sense which makes him consistently able to make these plays happen.
His 2019-20 season with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s is a true testament to his playmaking ability, racking up a whopping 81 assists in a 120 point season. But make no mistake about it, Rossi also has a strong goal-scoring capability with his wrist shot. Rossi was in the midst of a strong scoring campaign with the Iowa Wild upon his callup, amassing seven goals and 16 assists in 23 games. Overall, the Wild have high expectations for Rossi as a star player alongside Kirill Kaprizov. And with his immense talent on both sides of the puck, he seems set to deliver on those expectations.
Matt Boldy is another really talented offensive prospect that will be joining the NHL. He had a late start to the season after breaking his left ankle in a preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks. But he’s made a full recovery, and hasn’t missed a beat playing in the AHL. Boldy has been enjoying a quality offensive season with the Iowa Wild, scoring 10 points in as many games. Like Rossi, scouts love his playmaking ability as well as his capability as a scorer. He has a full arsenal of strong shots that help make him an adept goal scorer. The only real weakness in his game according to various scouting reports is his skating speed. But that one small concern doesn’t ruin what is altogether a solid repertoire for the rookie winger. He has the potential to be a top-line NHL winger and should be a significant part of the future of the Minnesota Wild. Should he capitalize on his first-line potential, the Wild could have a high-powered line combo with Boldy, Rossi and Kaprizov.
Can They Make an Immediate Difference?
Rossi and Boldy are making their NHL debuts due to a number of COVID-related issues plaguing the Wild. But their debuts also coincidentally correlate with a rough stretch of hockey for the Wild. They’ve lost their last five games, the most recent one against the Saint Louis Blues at the Winter Classic. On top of that, they’ve had significant issues with their power play. They went 0/4 on the man advantage in the aforementioned Winter Classic, and rank 24th in the league. The callups of Rossi and Boldy together seem to be an attempt to boost the team’s level of play in this regard. They both have a high level of ability on the offensive side of the puck and both have a legitimate chance to make an immediate impact. With that, the team and fan morale are also very high with these exciting prospects making their debut. The Wild franchise is hoping these factors help them out of this recent funk and get a much-needed road win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Likewise, Rossi and Boldy will be aiming to make a big enough impact to stay in the NHL long term.
Featured image courtesy of Pioneer Press
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