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How is Wild prospect Marco Rossi doing during his stint in the minors

Iowa Wild coach Tim Army gave an updated on Tuesday

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Minnesota Wild
San Jose Sharks left wing Alexander Barabanov passes while Minnesota Wild center Marco Rossi defends on Nov.13 during the first period at Xcel Energy Center.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports
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Wild prospect Marco Rossi didn’t complain last week when he was he got sent down to the minor leagues.

He simply put his head down, went to work, and recorded a goal and a pair of his assists in his season debut with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.

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As much as that mentality from Rossi impressed Iowa Wild coach Tim Army, it didn’t surprise him. He has gotten to know Rossi very well over the past couple of seasons, and he expected that type of response from him.

“He’s got great character,” Army said. “He’s a fantastic kid.”

It’s still unclear how long Rossi will be down in the minors. He struggled to gain traction in the NHL this season with no goals in 16 games. He was a healthy scratch for a solid week before getting sent down.

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“He played 16 games in the NHL and didn’t get a lot of touches,” Army said. “As good a player as he is, sometimes a guy can lose that feel offensively if they aren’t touching the puck. That’s why he’s down here. He needs to get those touches and regain that feel for the game.”

Though he has been extremely professional in his approach, Rossi was clearly disappointed to be taking a step backwards. That’s a normal feeling for any young player.

“No one wants to come back to us,” Army said. “We tell them when they got called up that we hope we never see them again. We want them up there. We want to be watching them on TV rather than in person. We also want them to be disappointed when they come back to us.”

The most promising thing is Rossi hasn’t let it affect his play on the ice. He is averaging more than 20 minutes per game in Iowa, playing in every situation, and the team has a 3-1-0 record with him in the lineup.

“He’s a big reason for it,” Army said. “We’re a better team when he’s here.”

NHL: Player Headshots 2022
Minnesota Wild forward Marco Rossi in action on Oct. 4 against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center.
Jeff Curry / USA Today Sports

The next step for Rossi is playing with a little more pace and carving out more space for himself on the ice. That should produce more scoring chances, which, in turn, should increase his production.

“As soon as he separates and gets into open ice, the game really starts to open up for him,” Rossi said. “That’s what we’re working with him on right now.”

Asked if he could give a message to Wild fans about Rossi’s development, Army replied, “Just be patient with him.”

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“He’s only 21 years old, and he’s going to be a really good player,” Army said. “Everyone’s process is a little bit different. He’s going through the process, and there’s no question he’s going to be a really good player. He’s going to play in Minnesota for a long time, and he’s going to be a big contributor.”

It’s easy to lose sight of that in the echo chamber of the NHL.

“He’s got a long career ahead of him,” Army said. “This is going to pay dividends for him as he progresses throughout his career.”

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