Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Marco Rossi.
After being drafted 18th overall in the 2018 CHL Import Draft, Marco Rossi put up 29 goals and 65 points in 59 games last season. Rossi was named to the OHL Second All-Rookie Team. He was even better in the OHL playoffs putting up six goals and 22 points in 17 games. This season, he’s taken his game to another level. Rossi scored 39 goals and 81 assists for 120 points in just 56 games. He was a dynamic offensive force for the Ottawa 67s, helping them to be one of the best teams in the OHL. When the OHL season was stopped due to Covid-19, he had a nine-point lead for the league scoring title.
The Austrian forward is the best hockey prospect that his country has produced since Thomas Vanek. Prior to coming to the OHL, he had played most of his junior hockey in the Swiss leagues, though he did still represent Austria at the international level.
Marco Rossi Scouting Report
Center — shoots Left
Born September 23th, 2001 — Feldkirch, Austria
Height 5’9″ — Weight 187 lbs [175 cm/85 kg]
Rossi is an excellent skater, with very good speed and acceleration. He combines that with outstanding agility and edgework. He can take defenders wide and then cut to the net. His ability to make quick cuts also makes him extremely dangerous in one-on-one situations. Rossi is just 5-foot-9, however, he is solidly built and plays a dynamic offensive game. His low centre of gravity makes him hard to knock off the puck and allows him to control it down low and create out of the cycle game. He is also surprisingly strong along the boards, winning far more battles than one would expect for a player of his size. This should only get better as he continues to mature and get even stronger.
Rossi has excellent hands and combines this with his skating ability to create offence. He can make moves while carrying the puck at top speed. He creates space by combining his quick fakes and with his quick cuts and changes in speed. Defenders have to back off to defend his speed and Rossi can take advantage of the room created and larger passing and shooting lanes. He has a quick wrist shot with an excellent release. When defenders back off, he can use them as a screen and fire a shot on net. He also has an excellent one-timer.
Rossi is talented as both a playmaker and a shooter. He has the passing skills to set up his linemates and make them better. His ability to extend plays through his work down low really lets him take advantage of these playmaking abilities. He works well in the cycle and gives his teammates additional time to get open for a tape-to-tape pass. His puck control and passing ability also allow him to run the power play off the wall. Rossi is not afraid to get involved in battles on the boards or to take the puck to the front of the net. Despite his lack of size, he plays the game in the dirty areas of the ice.
Rossi is also good defensively. He is able to kill penalties and is particularly effective on faceoffs. The 67s use him in all situations and he is often matched up against the other team’s top line. He is not afraid to get his nose dirty and helps his defence down low, working hard in the corners and behind the net. While he is often overmatched in terms of size, he has a never quit mentality and does not back down. He also uses a quick stick to knock the puck away from opponents and create turnovers. His positioning is very good and he uses his smarts to cut down passing and shooting lanes.
Projection and Comparison
The biggest questions around Rossi are his size. However, there are more and more small players succeeding in the modern NHL, and Rossi has the dynamic offensive skills and the skating ability to overcome his lack of size. An extremely hard worker, Rossi does it all at both ends of the ice. He likely needs a year or two before he is ready for the NHL, but could become a first-line centre if he reaches his potential. Rossi’s game is comparable to Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Marco Rossi that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Marco Rossi Main Photo:
OSHAWA, ON – MARCH 1: Marco Rossi #23 of the Ottawa 67’s skates during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on March 1, 2020, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)