Marco Rossi’s well-rounded game fits the Anaheim Ducks’ current needs almost perfectly. It would be a mistake to pass on him if he is still available at 6th overall.
The first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft is bursting at the seams with incredible talent. As things currently stand, the consensus is still that Alexis Lafreniere and Quinton Byfield will be the first two players off the board, and understandably so. However, from there, things become a bit more unclear. With the 6th overall selection, the Anaheim Ducks have the opportunity to draft a player that could change the course of their “rebuilding” franchise.
Anaheim Ducks General Manager, Bob Murray, has a plethora of talent to choose from in the early part of the first round. Granted, while his decision will be dictated by the five teams choosing before him, whoever he selects will be a nice addition alongside Anaheim Ducks darling, Trevor Zegras.
Many have the Ducks pegged to pick a player like Alex Holtz or Lucas Raymond, and we all know how much Murray loves his Swedes. Nevertheless, a unique opportunity presents itself with a young Austrian born player by the name of Marco Rossi.
While he is one of the oldest player of the draft class, and a lot smaller than some of his fellow draftee’s, Rossi packs a ferocious punch. His incredibly well-rounded game could be exactly what Murray and the Ducks need to kick start their impending rebuild.
Marco Rossi Profile
"Born: September 23, 2001 (19 yo) Nation: AustriaDraft Year Team: Ottawa 67’s (OHL)Position: CShoots: LHeight: 5’9″ / 176 cmWeight: 185 lbs / 84 kg"
Via Elite Prospects:
- Elite Novizen Most Goals (28)
- Elite Novizen Most Goals in Playoffs (8)
- U18 WJC (D1B) Most Goals (6)
- U18 WJC (D1B) Silver Medal
- U18 WJC (D1B) Top Player on Team
- Elite Jr. A Most Points Playoffs (10)
- U18 WJC (D1B) Best Face-Off Percentage (68.49%)
- U18 WJC (D1B) Silver Medal
- OHL Second All-Rookie Team
- CHL Top Prospects Game
- CHL Top Scorer Award (120)
- OHL Best Plus/Minus (+69)
- OHL First All-Star Team
- OHL Most Assists (81)
- OHL Most Outstanding Player (Red Tilson Trophy)
- OHL Most Points (Eddie Powers Trophy) (120)
Hard Work Beats Talent
Marco Rossi is, without a doubt, one of the most talented players in the 2020 draft class. His resume speaks for itself. However, he has not become the player he is today by sheer luck and being blessed with tremendous talent. While it’s easy to look at his stats and be blown away by the numbers, Rossi has worked tirelessly throughout his youth to perfect his craft.
His dedication to the sport he loves is motivated by the sacrifices his parents have made for him, especially his dad. Rossi would work from dawn until dusk, just to repeat the cycle the next day. His drive is unparalleled to most players his age, and that alone will make him a terrific NHL player in the very near future.
Throughout his hockey career, the young forward has been met with criticism; whether it be he was too short, too young, or not physical enough. Nevertheless, at each stage of his career he not only succeeded, but he dominated. Not because of his talent, but because he put in the mental and physical work that would enable him to propel himself forward.
His work ethic is an incredibly important part of his game. It is an admirable trait that other players should strive to obtain. If you’re not willing to put in the hard work, no one wants to work with you. It is impossible to rely solely on talent to get you to where you want to go; there is always room for improvement and Rossi knows that better than anyone.
"“I’ve always thought since I was younger, if I don’t train, I don’t get better.” –Marco Rossi"
While the two players couldn’t be any more different, Marco Rossi’s work ethic reminds me a lot of Josh Manson. At every step of his hockey career, many people doubted Manson. Yet, he always has a knack for proving people wrong. His hard work and dedication have allowed Manson to never be content with where he is currently at. Rossi has the potential to be a difference-maker for the Anaheim Ducks, but both players were cut from very similar cloths when it comes to their hard work and discipline.
Filling in all the Gaps
For almost the entirety of the 2019-20 season, the Anaheim Ducks looked extremely lethargic. They found themselves at the bottom of the league in nearly every aspect. The 6th overall selection may be disappointing to some Anaheim Ducks fans, but in a draft that is as deep as 2020, it’s almost as if the hockey gods are handing Bob Murray a solution on a silver platter.
Marco Rossi ended his 2019-20 campaign with 120 points (39g, 81a) in 56 games. He produced, on average, 2.14 points per game. When compared to the “crown jewel” of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Alexis Lafreniere, who produced, on average, 2.15 points per game, Rossi is on a similar playing field. At just 19 years old the Austrian native is a scoring machine.
According to Chris Peters of ESPN, Rossi’s 2.14 points per game ranks him 5th among players in the OHL aged 18 years old or younger in the last 20 years. While the OHL may not be the strongest league in the CHL, that is an impressive feat. While he can rack up points, he isn’t reckless. He plays a very responsible game that shows maturity beyond his years.
Rossi can create offense in almost any situation. He has been praised for his unique mind and high hockey IQ. The way he plays the game, he sometimes seems to be several steps ahead of the opposition. He is deceptive and sneaky, and while the word unpredictable can often be a negative connotation, in Rossi’s case, his unpredictability makes him a lethal threat.
He is always in tune with himself, his teammates, and the game around him. Patience is an important element to any player’s game, and while Rossi can turn up the heat and create a play almost out of thin air, he never forces things and is more than willing to wait for a better opportunity to present itself.
While he is a bit of a smaller player, Rossi is a powerful and excellent skater. This often allows him to create separation between himself and the opposing team. He can easily beat his opponents in the rush and catch up from behind as well.
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His offensive skills speak for themselves, but Rossi is also a very good defensive player. He creates a lot of his opportunities with smart defensive plays. His size is often noted as a concern, but he makes it easy to forget that he’s only 5’9”.
He never backs down from a challenge and he’s never afraid to get down and dirty to help his teammates down low. He works hard in the corners and behind the net and he uses his good positioning to cut down passing and shooting lanes.
Creating turnovers is one of his specialties and his transition game is stellar. Once he has the puck on his stick, it’s almost impossible to muscle it away from him. Fellow teammate Kevin Bahl has gone on the record stating how hard it is to knock Rossi off the puck in drills, and Bahl isn’t a small guy.
Marco Rossi is a highly-skilled offensive player, and while the Anaheim Ducks could use an injection of offense in their lineup, what makes Rossi such a perfect fit for the Anaheim Ducks is his well-rounded game. He isn’t just strong in one particular area, he has multiple skill sets that help him adapt to almost any situation. While his General Manager may carry a little bit of bias, it isn’t often that you hear of a forward who is the best player in every area.
"“He’s a phenomenal player. Phenomenal. A few teams that have picked up on it. I’m biased, but I think he’s the best player in our league. It’s not often you’ve got a player on your team who is the best offensive player, the best defensive player, the best guy on faceoffs, the best guy on the power play, the best guy on the penalty kill, and probably your No. 1 shootout shooter.” –James Boyd, 67’s General Manager"
He is often considered to be the smartest and best playmaker as well as the best shootout shooter in the OHL. When it comes to his defensive game and the penalty kill, he is ranked in the top three.
Every area he excels in is an area the Anaheim Ducks need desperate help in. If he is still available when Bob Murray makes his selection, there is no doubt in my mind, that Marco Rossi would be an absolute steal and be a huge foundational piece for the organization going forward.
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