The Detroit Red Wings desperately need a goalie to be excited about. Fans know it. The media knows it. GM Steve Yzerman knows it. Heck, even the goalies know it. With two first-round picks in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, it’s not a pipe dream to think the team could make a splash with a goalie. Sure, Yzerman could swing for the fences and draft top-10 overall prospect (and No. 1 overall goalie prospect) Jesper Wallstedt, though the prevailing assumption is that he may not be that high on Detroit’s board.
Try this out for size, then: Sebastian Cossa at No. 22.
Detroit’s second selection in the first round, which was acquired from the Washington Capitals in the Anthony Mantha trade, certainly gives the Red Wings flexibility, but given the team’s current outlook between the pipes, it would be wise to give Cossa a good, long look. Pundits have listed him as high as a mid-to-late teens selection, or as low as early in the second round, so it’s not out of the question to envision Yzerman selecting him.
Related: Red Wings 2021 Draft Coverage
That begs the questions – Will he fall to pick 22, and if so, should the Red Wings select him? Let’s take a closer look.
Shutting Down the Opposition
Cossa dominated with the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings in 2020-21, posting league-highs in goals-against average (GAA) (1.57) and save percentage (.941), all while going 17-1-1 with four shutouts in 19 games. In two seasons with the Oil Kings, the 18-year-old is an insane 38-7-4 with eight shutouts.
Needless to say, the kid can play.
He is a force to be reckoned with, officially listed at 6-foot-6-inches and 212 pounds, and seems to understand the game well beyond his years. He’s technically sound, uses his size to his advantage, and checks off all the boxes for what teams look for in a starting netminder. He’s got great vision, and looks like he could develop into an NHL-caliber goalie in time.
Need some hardware? No problem. Cossa is no stranger to the awards circuit, cleaning up in the U15 Alberta Elite Hockey League. In the 2016-17 he earned the league’s Top Goaltender and MVP awards after posting the best GAA (1.80) and save percentage (.934). It should come as no surprise that the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers U15 AAA club won the championship that season.
The following season was a quiet one for him, relatively speaking, earning a WHL Cup Silver Medal with Team Alberta, though his 3.15 GAA and .882 save percentage certainly left much to be desired. Not surprisingly, though, he bounced back and posted the back-to-back stellar seasons in Edmonton, which brings us to present day.
Cossa has the tools to someday be an NHL starting netminder, but the hybrid-style netminder has a lot of fine tuning to do. He has the tools, to be clear, and outside of the typical cleanup that has to happen before entering the NHL level, there isn’t anything in his game that’s clearly lacking, which is why we can even have this discussion with him as a first-round selection.
That said, many have not-so-silently relented that Cossa could be a victim of his own good fortune, because the WHL’s Oil Kings, to be clear, are a juggernaut. That’s not to take anything away from the young Canadian, but he will have to prove himself on a much grander scale before getting any sort of crack at the NHL.
What They’re Saying
It’s pretty clear from around the scouting world: Cossa has a chance to be the face of a team sometime soon. Check out what the pundits are saying:
“There isn’t a lot of room to beat Cossa on first shots and it’s very hard to go around the long legs of his. After an exceptional D-1 season, Cossa projects to be an NHL starting goalie and continues to improve and rise up draft boards.” — Danny Tiffany, Dobber Prospects
“With his size, he is able to stand tall and make saves with ease. But, on the grand scheme of things, Cossa makes more butterfly saves than saves when standing tall.” — Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting
“He’s got very good net coverage while in his stance or when dropping in the butterfly and he doesn’t leave a lot of room for shooters. … His confidence in his ability shows in his play. He’s got a good NHL upside. — Al Jensen, Central Scouting
“Although Edmonton ices as formidable a lineup as you’ll find in major junior, Cossa proved to be invaluable himself by going 11-2-2 with a .939 save percentage in games where he faced 30 or more shots.” — Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
Fit With The Red Wings
Cossa would likely be a fantastic fit with the Red Wings, but with so many other areas of need to address, it’s anyone’s guess what Yzerman will do come draft day. If he swings for the fences with Wallstedt at sixth overall, for example, you can obviously take this one off the board. On the flip side, just because Cossa’s still on the board doesn’t mean he’s must-take material.
That said, given the direction of the team this season, there’s no doubt Cossa’s style, talent and reliability would make him an instant hit in Detroit, and should they call his name, there likely won’t be many who can provide any objection of substance.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
We’ve certainly learned our lesson once already, though: Expect the unexpected, and trust the Yzerplan.
Catch Up on Other Red Wing Draft Candidates:
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A die-hard hockey fan in the desert, and proud Iowa State alum. Covers the Detroit Red Wings for The Hockey Writers.