Marco Rossi is used to being busy.

Take the last few months, when he went from getting drafted by the Wild to continuing his offseason training and then playing in Switzerland.

But lately, Rossi doesn't have room to do much.


Rossi's been holed up in an Edmonton hotel this week, quarantining before he and the rest of his Austrian teammates get set for the World Junior Championships that start on Christmas Day.

"It's so weird because normally I wake up and I have the plan for the day," Rossi said by telephone. "And now I wake up and all I know is at 8 is breakfast, 12 lunch and then in the evening is dinner. So, it's kind of boring."

Soon, though, Rossi will get back to his usual pace.

Quarantine adjourns Friday for practices and exhibition games, and after he's done with the tournament, Rossi plans to head to Minnesota to vie for a roster spot with the Wild in the NHL.

"I want to reach my goal now," he said.

This self-assuredness isn't new for Rossi.

That's exactly how he felt after the Wild drafted him ninth overall back in October, making the center just the fifth Austrian-born player taken in the first round.

And since then, the 19-year-old has continued to work.

After focusing on his speed and core during the lengthy offseason instigated by the coronavirus pandemic and making what he considered huge strides, Rossi's on-ice training homed in on gamelike situations.

The prep was timely because next up for Rossi was a stint with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland after the Wild loaned him to the club.

In his debut, Rossi chipped in an assist, but overall his ice time with Zurich was limited to just three games. Following his second appearance, Rossi was sidelined because of COVID-19.

Rossi suffered back pain and lost his taste and after what he described as three "pretty bad" days, he improved. Eventually, he returned to the ice and actually felt he played better than he did before getting sick.

"Now I feel normal," said Rossi, who racked up 39 goals and 81 assists in 56 games last season with Ottawa in the Ontario Hockey League.

Once he was done in Zurich, Rossi met with the Austrian team for a camp before flying to Edmonton last Sunday. The group has had meetings over Zoom while quarantining, and Rossi's been working out in his room. A pair of tuneup games against Germany and Slovakia are on deck, and Rossi is eager to compete after the Wild gave him the thumbs-up to participate.

"I was so happy because every time I have the opportunity to play for my country, I want to play because it means so much passion," Rossi said. "And I'm so proud to wear the Austrian jersey. So, I was very happy to hear I can go for World Juniors."

Depending on how the tournament goes, it's possible Rossi could miss the beginning of training camp, if that begins in early January should the NHL and its players greenlight a mid-January start. But Wild General Manager Bill Guerin felt playing in the World Juniors was crucial for Rossi.

"What would be best for Marco?" Guerin said. "My opinion is that as one of the elite players from Austria, he's got this opportunity to represent his country and be a leader on that team and it's the best tournament in the world for players that age. The experience of being in that tournament is a huge benefit in a player's development. We just put a huge importance on that.

"Training camp is training camp. It's important but if somebody is playing in the World Juniors at this time, that's a big deal."

Regardless of when he could get to Minnesota, Rossi will still be evaluated for a spot on the roster. He believes he can offer quick, sound decisionmaking, a strong skating ability and 200-foot awareness.

"I know how good I am, and I have a lot of confidence in me. But it's not arrogance," said Rossi, who received congratulatory text messages from defenseman Jared Spurgeon and winger Marcus Foligno after getting drafted.

Graduating immediately from the draft to the NHL is uncommon, and Rossi knows the opportunity to do so is rare.

But he's sure he can make the jump.

"It's a very big honor for me," he said, "and I want to prove [to] them that I'm ready."