The Free Press’s Helene St. James profiles draft prospect Marco Rossi this morning. The Ottawa 67’s center (and Canadian Hockey League leading scorer) has interviewed with the Red Wings several times over the summer, and the 5’9,” 183-pound center has built upon his physique thanks in part to a very, very long offseason:
“My main goal was to get faster, get more explosiveness,” Rossi said. “I started to do that right away when I came back from Canada in mid-March. We did a really good job. We’ve been working on it 6-7 months now, and it’s going really good. We can see big improvements. I’ve never felt so good on the ice. It got so much better with my body.”
To have six months in a weight room, uninterrupted by games, is unheard of for hockey players. It has allowed Rossi, listed as 5-foot-9 and 183 pounds, to gain muscle. He knows he’s on the smaller side, but similarly sized forward Brayden Point — at 5-10 and 166 pounds — has been putting on a show for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup playoffs. After Datsyuk left the Wings in 2016, Point emerged as Rossi’s new role model.
“He’s so smart,” Rossi said. “He’s the same size as me and the way he’s skating around other players is so crazy. He’s not afraid. He’s a really good playmaker and a really good shooter.”
The Wings could use a player who brings both those facets. Though they have a potential second-line center in Joe Veleno, Rossi brings another level of hockey IQ, the kind of deft passing that could make him an ideal center for Filip Zadina. Rossi is a strong-willed player who plays aggressively in all three zones, a budding star with game-breaking ability. He’s been a cunning player since shortly after he learned to skate.
Continued; I have no problem with the Wings drafting any of Rossi, Cole Perfetti, Jamie Drysdale, Jake Sanderson et. al.