The moment the New York Rangers won the number one pick in this year’s draft, Wings’ fans were jolted from their peaceful Lafrenière-dream. It was like a dream you have the night before Christmas: eagerly looking forward to waking up, you constantly check the clock, anticipating Santa gifting you the best player in the draft. A single jet-stream shooting a lottery ball up in the air ended that dream. But that dream doesn’t have to end. This draft is deep – there’s no real consensus on draft order and the Wings have several holes to fill.
Name – Marco Rossi
Position – Center
Team – Ottawa 67’s – OHL
Height – 5’9”
Weight – 179 lbs
Nation – Austria
Shoots – Left
Dealing with more criticism than praise from Santa and his reindeers pals, Rudolph has never been exempt from criticism. The Rudolph of this year’s draft is Marco Rossi. Even though this Austrian centerman is special, the critics continuously question his height and foot speed. These are the same criticisms that Corey “Rudolph” Perry faced in his draft year. Yes, Rossi comes with warning, but Wings’ fans should not underestimate this red-nosed sniper’s worth. Rossi led the OHL in assists and points last season with 120 points in 56 games, averaging 2.14 points per game. To put that in perspective, in their final year of Juniors – Connor McDavid: 2.55 PPG, Sydney Crosby: 2.71 PPG, Nathan MacKinnon: 1.70 PPG. The Austrian Center has a knack for scoring, is a terrific passer and has tremendous hockey IQ. Scouting reports are emphasizing his work ethic in all three zones and his 60 point jump from the prior season makes his determination to improve evident.
TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button –
“He’s got great lower body strength, he understands the game, he’s smart and he’s really competitive. Marco, to me Like Alexis Lafrenière, I think they’re the two players that are ready to come into the NHL and contribute in the 2020-21 season.”
Prospect Thread: Marco Rossi
Highest Point Totals In The OHL.
Let’s look at some highlights. pic.twitter.com/5VqXOPFUqa
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) March 18, 2020
This should alleviate some of the concerns regarding Rossi’s strength and height. Button is not the first scouting professional to make note of his lower-body strength. The key for Rossi will be developing the two-way game so that he will only be an asset and never a liability on the ice. This could take some time, but the Wings would be fortunate to draft Rossi at fourth. Because the 67s were a highly offensive team the stats may be skewed in Rossi’s favor, but skewed or not, when you watch Rossi you know he can make the immediate jump to the NHL. It is unlikely that he is going to immediately have the same impact as some of his 2 PPG brethren, but Rossi has shown that when paired with talented players, goals are a certainty. Whether the Red Wings draft Dancer, Prancer, Rudolph, or any of Santa’s reindeer, doing so will create a strong foundation on which they can start the rebuild.