I was sitting down on my couch, a nice lunch in-hand and ready to watch some afternoon playoff basketball on this non-Minnesota Wild gameday, when all of a sudden, prompted by the team’s recent decision to recall AHL veteran Joseph Cramarossa for their upcoming trip to the Nashville Predators, The Athletic’s Michael Russo decided to just throw a wrench into the rest of my day. And now, I cannot stop thinking about this.
I have been trying so hard not to think of the situation with Marco Rossi for the second half of the season. He has been breaking records for AHL Iowa this season, and even though he got a little taste and was able to make his NHL debut alongside Matt Boldy earlier this season, it seems like he deserves to be up here already. If it was strictly from an on-ice perspective, I have no doubt that he would be — but with Cap Hell coming for the next three years and a potential top-six center being on their rookie deal for that length of time, the Wild have opted to keep him down in the minors for that reason.
That has been accepted by the general public and since Minnesota has come so far doing so, just letting it happen is expected.
So that is why when Russo decided to say that he “thought they might” bring up Rossi while key forwards like Jordan Greenway and Marcus Foligno are out with injuries, my ears perked up and now I’m in a downward spiral of questions.
Were they actually considering bringing up their top prospect for the last four games of the regular season? If Iowa is out of the playoffs, are they going to have Rossi up for the NHL playoffs? If they do that, will they just go game-by-game to determine if they need his skill, up until he hits the allotted nine appearances?
Iowa is currently in the middle of a heated battle for the playoffs. They are holding the final post-season spot in the Central Division, but are tied in points percentage with the Texas Stars currently. They have three games remaining in the regular season and are facing the Stars on Saturday. After that game, no matter the result, we might get some answers to those questions and if they are essentially on their way to being out of the playoffs, we might end up seeing the Wild’s top prospect in St. Paul.
It is difficult to imagine that he would be just inserted into the lineup in case of injuries, or just poor performance, and then go back to getting scratched during the most important time of the hockey year. Doesn’t seem like optimizing the lineup to me, but I am just someone writing about this team removed from anyone important and knowledgeable.
Any scenario is a possibility, except thinking that Rossi will play 10 or more games this season and having the team just burn the year of the contract after keeping him in the AHL for so long. It would be generally nice to see Rossi get some big-league minutes before the season wraps up. The Wild at least have a potential dangerous weapon that they can unsheathe in case of injuries or other factors.