Marco Rossi started the month as one of hockey's top draft-eligible prospects.
Now, only a few weeks later, he has an NHL contract after the Wild signed the No. 9 overall draft pick to a three-year, entry-level deal Friday.
Rossi's contract averages an annual value of $1.775 million. His salary and signing bonus are worth $925,000 per season, and he can achieve performance bonuses up to $850,000 each season.
"A dream come true," Rossi tweeted. "Can't be more happy to sign my first NHL contract with the [Wild]."
Rossi led the Ontario Hockey League last season in assists (81) and points (120) to become the first European to capture the OHL scoring title. His 39 goals in 56 games ranked second on his Ottawa team, and he was named the OHL's most outstanding player — just the second European import to be recognized with the award.
On Oct. 6, he became just the fifth Austrian-born player drafted in the first round, joining former Wild player Thomas Vanek.
A smart, playmaking center with a competitive edge, Rossi is expected to compete for a roster spot with the Wild at training camp — a jump he believe he's ready to make. He's used the longer offseason caused by the coronavirus pandemic to work on his speed, and the Wild isn't worried about his stature (5-9 and 183 pounds).
"He's a determined and dogged worker," Wild director of amateur scouting Judd Brackett said earlier this month. "I think he'll do everything he has to do to be the best that he can be."
The 19-year-old is also familiar with the pro life; his father, Michael Rossi, was a defenseman who played 20 seasons of professional hockey in Austria from 1992 to 2011. Rossi's father was also instrumental in his son's career, driving him to practice in Switzerland, and Rossi credited his family's support for getting him to this point — where he's on the verge of getting a chance to skate in the NHL.
"It's a perfect fit," Rossi said after the Wild drafted him. "They need a center. I'm a center. I'm 100 percent ready. My impact is going to be my whole game."
The Wild has locked up its last restricted free agent who needed a contract for next season, signing defenseman Louie Belpedio to a one-year, two-way contract, the team announced Friday.
Belpedio's deal is worth $700,000 in the NHL and $135,000 in the minors.
Last season, Belpedio tied for the most goals among defensemen in Iowa and finished second in points after registering five goals and 15 assists in 62 games in the American Hockey League. In 142 career games with Iowa over three seasons, he has 11 goals and 32 assists.
A right shot, Belpedio was part of the Wild's expanded postseason roster but didn't play in any NHL games in 2019-20. Overall, the 24-year-old has two assists in three games with the Wild. Both of those assists came in his NHL debut, making him the first rookie in team history to tally two points in his first NHL game.
Drafted in the third round by the Wild in 2014, Belpedio went on to play four seasons at Miami University before turning pro.
Fellow defenseman Brennan Menell was also a restricted free agent for the Wild, but he won't sign a contract with the Wild until he's done playing in the Kontinental Hockey League, where he is on a one-year contract. The team issued him a qualifying offer to retain his rights.