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Wild send top prospect Marco Rossi down to the minors

He has has been a healthy scratch in 4 straight games.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov, left, celebrates a goal and congratulates Minnesota Wild center Marco Rossi on his first NHL point in the second period at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.
Matt Blewett / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL -- It’s been trending in this direction for top prospect Marco Rossi. Now it’s official.

After being a healthy scratch for the past four games, the Minnesota Wild finally decided to send Rossi down to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. The decision came on Monday afternoon after many discussions between general manager Bill Guerin and coach Dean Evason.

“We don’t want a young player sitting out any length of time,” Evason said last week. “We’ve talked a lot about turning things positively and learning. You can do a lot of thinking and evaluating. As long as it doesn’t get to the point where it turns real negative, then guys can use it in the right direction.”

There were certainly lessons to be learned from sitting in the press box. That’s something Guerin and Evason both talked at length about.

That said, it’s important for Rossi’s development that he play in games, which he will get to do in the minors. He will play big minutes on a nightly basis, be relied on in every situation imaginable and hopefully return with some swagger whenever he gets called back up.

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In the meantime, Guerin understands it’s going to be tough for Rossi to stomach. As a player, Guerin was sent down a few times early in his career, and he admitted it was never very much fun.

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“It’s always a kick in the gut,” he said. “You’re allowed 12 to 24 hours to feel bad for yourself, then you’ve got to get yourself going.”

It hasn’t been the best start for Rossi, to say the least. He has no goals through 16 games and has started to press when on the ice. That’s a big reason the Wild decided to make him a healthy scratch in the first place.

“His attitude has been real good,” Evason said. “He’s handled it real well so far. He’s not happy. We don’t want him to be.”

It’s clear how much pressure Rossi has been putting on himself as of late. As the No. 9 pick in the 2020 NHL draft, there was a lot of fanfare when he made the team out of training camp. He was supposed to be someone that helped fill the 85-point void left by star winger Kevin Fiala.

Instead, it’s been tough sledding for Rossi, who has struggled to find a rhythm.

“You always have ups and down,” he said. “These things I learn here maybe I will never learn again.”

The lessons will continue in Des Moines for now.

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“His production is something that hopefully will come,” Guerin said. “We have to help him get there.”

This trip to the minors is part of it.

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