Rossi, Boldy each to make NHL debut for Wild on Thursday


Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi each will make his NHL debut for the Minnesota Wild at the Boston Bruins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, NHL LIVE).

The forwards were recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.

“They’re going to get an opportunity to play two nights from now in Boston, then we’ll see where we go from there,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “Anyone on our hockey club, in our organization, that’s in Iowa or anywhere else, if they’re ready to play and we think they are, then we’ll give them an opportunity to play for our hockey club. If it doesn’t go exactly according to plan and they don’t score five goals in Boston and light up our power play, it’s OK too.

“It’s a process. We will evaluate and make decisions on everything as each day progresses here. So we’re looking forward to having them in there. We’re not expecting them to lead our hockey club into the promised land, but we do want them to come in and do exactly how the Minnesota Wild play, with grit, determination, heart and a skill set as well.”

Rossi has scored 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) in 21 AHL games in his first professional season. The 20-year-old, selected by Minnesota with the No. 9 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, was one of the final cuts in training camp and assigned to Iowa on Oct. 9. He led the Ontario Hockey League with 120 points (39 goals, 81 assists) in 56 games for Ottawa in 2019-20 and was expected to push for an NHL spot last season.

Rossi was loaned to Zurich of National League, the top professional league in Switzerland, when the 2020-21 NHL season was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-November, was able to play for Austria at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in December, then missed the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, when he reported to Wild training camp in early January 2021. He resumed hockey training in June.

“I went to Iowa and there I got sick, just like the flu, nothing bad, and then it was [a neck injury] after that,” Rossi said. “But other than that everything went really good. I trust the process 100 percent. I wasn’t waiting for it because if I was always waiting and looking at my phone, then it would take a long time. So I wasn’t really thinking about Minnesota, I was just thinking Iowa and that’s the best thing to do because you’re not thinking much about it.”

Boldy has scored 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 24 games during two AHL seasons. The 20-year-old broke his left ankle during a preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 7 and didn’t make his season debut until Nov. 19. He was selected by the Wild with the No. 12 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and is the only top-20 pick of the 2019 draft yet to play an NHL game.

“I think it’ll be all right,” said Boldy, who was born about an hour west of Boston in Milford, Massaschusetts, and who played two seasons at Boston College. “I think just me as a person I do a pretty good job of that, just kind of staying in the moment. It’ll be different getting everything settled early and tickets for all my family, but other than that it’s a hockey game, so I have to approach it that way. Just go through my normal routine and try to feel as comfortable as I can going into it. 

“I think they know how I play and know how I want to play. Obviously they have some faith in me putting me in the lineup.”

The Wild (19-10-2) have lost five straight games (0-4-1), getting outscored 23-15.

“Things haven’t gone well as of late and we thought as a group that we needed an energy boost somehow,” Evason said. “We’re excited to get some new jump hopefully into … we certainly had it in practice, but practice is practice. It’s why we played a [20-minute simulated] game today. We liked our businesslike attitude the last two days and getting some new blood in there feels real good.”

Defenseman Jonas Brodin returned from NHL COVID-19 protocol Tuesday, but the Wild remain without goalie Cam Talbot (lower body), defenseman Jared Spurgeon (lower body), and forwards Jordan Greenway (COVID-19 protocol) and Joel Eriksson Ek (upper body).

Forward Nick Bjugstad left practice Monday with an injury.

“It didn’t look good, we’ll see,” Evason said. “Hopefully it’s nothing serious.”

Talbot did not return for the third period of the 2022 Discover NHL Winter Classic on Saturday, when he allowed six goals on 28 shots in a 6-4 loss to the St. Louis Blues, and is out indefinitely.

“He’s rehabbing, but there’s no updates for our time frame,” Evason said. independent correspondent Jessi Pierce contributed to this report

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