Our Community Draft is officially underway! We’ve already talked about Alexis Lafreniere and Quinton Byfield, but now it’s time to talk about who the community voted as the No. 3 best prospect in this year’s draft — none other than Austrian forward Marco Rossi.
Believe it or not, there are only two Austrians currently playing in the NHL. One of them, of course, is Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl. The other is Arizona Coyotes speedster Michael Grabner. But while Raffl and Grabner are both solid players, Rossi has the potential to cement himself as one of the more dynamic young players in recent memory.
BSH 2020 Community Draft Board, No. 3: Marco Rossi
Team: Ottawa 67’s, OHL
Statistics: 39 G, 81 A in 56 GP
No. 6 (North American skaters/goalies) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 5 by Future Considerations
No. 7 by ISS Hockey
No. 3 by The Athletic (Wheeler)
What’s there to like?
If you like hockey players who are very good at a lot of things, Marco Rossi’s your guy. With 39 goals and 81 assists in just 56 games last season, it should come as no surprise that Rossi is kind of good with the puck on his stick. His hockey IQ and never-quit attitude separate him from many of his peers in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, and his off-ice work ethic is truly something to behold.
One of Rossi’s best attributes is his creativity in the offensive zone. He has a ton of tricks up his sleeve that often end up resulting in quality scoring chances for his teammates. While Lafreniere is likely the best playmaker in the draft, Rossi probably isn’t all that far behind him.
Rossi has also been lauded as one of the best defensive forwards in this year’s draft. He played significant minutes on the 67’s penalty kill last season and also won over 58 percent of his faceoffs for Ottawa. Only three other skaters (Jason Willms, Cam Hillis and Zach Gallant) won more draws than Rossi last season.
Rossi was trusted to take the ice in just about every imaginable situation for the 67’s last season. And while his play obviously stood out to scouts, his team’s general manager has been particularly candid when talking about his potential.
“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. And the thing is he doesn’t cheat, so as the game goes along, he takes over. The No. 1 thing for me is his skating — which was a concern for some people — is phenomenal. Some guys are interested in getting better, he’s obsessed. If I told him to eat a pound of sunflower seeds every day because it would help him get to the NHL, he’d be right on it. It’s only going to continue. You hear this sort of stuff about Sidney Crosby or Shea Weber when they were juniors, it’s almost like a disorder, the striving to get better. I see the same thing in Marco. Nothing’s going to stop him.”
What’s not to like?
Not much. Frankly, the only real thing keeping Rossi from being a top two pick in this year’s draft would be his size. At 5’9, some question whether or not he’ll make it as a center in the NHL, but his size certainly hasn’t limited him against bigger players in the OHL. Though he may not be as tall as some would ideally prefer, he’s freakishly strong and flat out dominates when things get physical. Despite his height (or lack thereof), he is as physically ready for the NHL as any prospect in this year’s draft.
Why is this? Well, on top of his ridiculous work ethic, he’s also one of the older prospects in the draft class. In fact, he just turned 19 years old today! This should not cause teams to reconsider him, however. While he is a bit older for a draft-eligible prospect, he still had to take on opponents older than him last season. He’s no spring chicken, but he’s also not years older than every one of his competitors either.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
Rossi would immediately become the best center in the Flyers’ prospect pool, and there are some who believe he could play in the NHL as early as next season. In fact, Rossi chose not to sign with a European club because he is that confident he’ll make an NHL roster next season. A bold choice, but it’s hard to count him out after blowing the doors off in the OHL just two years after arriving to North America.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
In all likelihood, no. Barring a major trade, Rossi will be off the board long before the Flyers make their first-round selection. Some have him being the No. 3 prospect in the draft while others have him falling to No. 7 or so. Even still, the only possible way the Flyers could draft him would be to relinquish numerous assets and trade up. That doesn’t seem like a logical path for the Flyers, so don’t expect to see Rossi in orange and black anytime soon.
2020 BSH Community Draft Board
- Alexis Lafreniere — LW, Rimouski (QMJHL)
- Quinton Byfield — C, Sudbury (OHL)
- Marco Rossi — C, Ottawa (OHL)