He may not be eligible until the 2020 NHL Draft, however, forward Marco Rossi of the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s has been quick to state his case as an elite NHL prospect.
A native of Feldkirch, Austria, the 2018-19 hockey season will mark Rossi’s first campaign in North America. Selected by the 67’s in the first round of the 2018 CHL Import Draft, Rossi had long stood as a dynamic offensive player and was undoubtedly ready to take his talents to the next level along his developmental route.
With professional playing experience in-hand alongside a versatile yet lethal skill-set, Rossi is quickly proving to be an industrious player capable of dominating his older and more physically mature competition with remarkable consistency. As one of the OHL’s unheralded rookie stars, Rossi could force aside Quinton Byfield and Cole Perfetti en route to securing the Emms Family Award as the league’s rookie of the year — Rossi is simply that good.
Rossi’s Road to the Show
As mentioned, Rossi was born in the city of Feldkirch — a relatively small medieval town which lays on the border of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
As Rossi grew older and his on-ice abilities continued to flourish, the youngster competed for a variety of different Austrian-based minor hockey teams. Although the age and skill-level of his competition varied greatly over the years, one fact remained: regardless of his foes, Rossi was capable of dominating each and every game he competed within.
Outside of his league play and before his arrival in North America, Rossi also represented his country on a number of occasions.
Across two appearances with Austria’s World Junior Championship U18 Team, Rossi totalled 10 goals and 15 points in just 10 games played. Although competing in the Division One, Group B Tournament, Rossi’s offensive output at the ages of 15 and 16-years were simply astonishing. More recently, Rossi starred with Austria’s WJC U20 Team — scoring three goals and recording five points as a 16-year-old.
Given his impressive track record of offensive production and proven ability to produce against mature competition, Ottawa’s selection of Rossi with the 18th overall choice in the CHL Import Draft was more of a technicality than it was a difficult decision.
Rossi’s Scouting Report
If hoping to endure a swift and successful transition to the professional-ranks as a full-time player in the coming years, Rossi will need to rely on the broad skill set which has fuelled his success to date. And, perhaps no element of Rossi’s game is more critical to his daily success than the youngster’s skating ability.
Flashing excellent edge-work and ample agility, Rossi can maneuver throughout the ice with relative ease and keep his opponents on their heels owing to his unpredictability. Although he will need to improve his top speed in the coming years, Rossi remains an impeccable skater who can drive his team’s offensive game through his footwork and puck control alone.
Amplifying Rossi’s sound attacking game is his seemingly endless creativity with the puck. While he owns a crisp and accurate shot, Rossi’s ability to create and implement plays in the offensive zone forces his defenders to respect both aspects of his game at a high rate of speed. Devastating while attacking off of the rush and a lethal force on the power play, Rossi is a consistent producer who can dismantle opposing teams in variety of ways.
The Years Ahead
Rossi’s road to the show will run through Ottawa and the 67’s, where he will likely play at least two seasons before ascending to a higher level of competition.
Quickly proving to be one of the top prospects available for the 2020 NHL Draft, a dominant rookie year for Rossi with the 67’s will bode incredibly well for his stock as an NHL prospect. If able to out-preform likes of Byfield and Perfetti in the OHL during the 2018-19 season, Rossi could easily be forecast as an early first round choice come his respective NHL Draft.
Related: 2019 NHL Draft Rankings
Although skating for a dominant team in the 67’s, Rossi’s ability to adapt to the North American game while establishing himself as an offensive dynamo speaks volumes with regards to his ultimate potential as an NHL player.
In short, be sure to keep a keen eye trained on Rossi in this season and beyond. Despite his small stature, Rossi is a unrelenting force and potential star at the NHL-level.