Red Wings land defenseman Simon Edvinsson, goalie Sebastian Cossa in NHL Draft 1st round

Detroit News

Detroit — The Red Wings went back to Sweden with their first pick Friday, selecting defenseman Simon Edvinsson.

The 6-foot-5, 207 pound Edvinsson played 24 games for Frolunda and Vasteras in Sweden, and has been compared to Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman because of his size and mobility.

The Red Wings then traded their picks at No. 23, 48 and 138 overall to Dallas and selected goalie Sebastian Cossa with the 15th pick overall.

Cossa was generally considered the second-best goaltender in the draft behind Swede Jesper Wallstedt.

Cossa (6-foot-6, 212 pounds), was 17-1-1 with a 1.57 goals-against average and .941 save percentage with Edmonton in the WHL last season.

Edvinsson likely needs another year or two in Sweden before coming over to North America. Scouts feel Edvinsson is further ahead defensively than offensively, but like many of his intangibles, playing with some edge and using his size.

Edvinsson was thrilled to be joining the Wings.

“I’m a great fan of them, I’ve heard all of the stories,” Edvinsson said during a Zoom call with the media afterward, in the wee hours in Sweden. “I’m just celebrating with my family and my agent and my friends also.

“I slept a little bit during this afternoon, but now I’m just on adrenaline and it’s helped me stayed up.”

Edvinsson played against defenseman Moritz Seider, a former Wings draft pick who’ll likely play in the NHL next season for the Wings.

The two could form a mammoth defensive tandem, as Seider is of similar size.

“I played against Seider, and he’s a really good defenseman,” Edvinsson said. “He’s really hard to play against.”

Edvinsson played with Lucas Raymond, last year’s No. 1 pick of the Red Wings, with Frolunda this season but neither player talked about the possibility of being Wings teammates.

But now they are.

“No, but now we might be talking about it,” Edvinsson said. “I’m so excited and happy to be here (with Wings) and part of the Detroit family. So excited and grateful.”

Edvinsson followed the Wings as a youth, watching the many Swedes who starred for the Wings’ organization.

“I’ve been following (them),” Edvinsson said. “It’s just so good I can’t even talk right now I’m so happy.”

Edvinsson was ranked in the top five of many draft projections this season.

“Simon has tremendous upside,” Frolunda general manager Fredrik Sjostrom told The Detroit News last month. “When you have that size and reach and skate as well as he does, you’re going to go early in the draft. In today’s game, you need speed and ability. He’ll definitely be a top-pair defenseman in the NHL.”

Raymond and Edvinsson train together in Gothenburg, their mothers are both fitness trainers, and Edvinsson talked about how exciting it would be to be drafted by the Wings.

As for his teammate Edvinsson, Raymond said he’s a “skilled defenseman, a good skater who is mobile with good vision.”

Sjostrom doesn’t like to compare Edvinsson to Hedman and former Red Wing Nicklas Lidstrom, but says there are elements of Edvinsson’s game which compare favorably to Lidstrom.

“I was fortunate to play against Lidstrom,” Sjostrom said. “He was one of the best defensive defenseman not because he was physical but because he was smart. He positioned himself well, had a good stick and kept a tight gap with the forwards.

“Simon doesn’t get enough credit for his defensive game. He’s a very good defender and moves really well for his size. He just needs time to grow into his body, to build strength the right way. He has lots of potential to be a good two-way defenseman.”

More: NHL Draft has UM flavor: 4 tied to Wolverines taken in first round

Cossa felt there was a chance the Red Wings were going to draft him once he heard about the trade with Dallas.

The Wings and Cossa had positive interviews leading to Friday, and Cossa felt there was a good fit.

“We had some good calls,” Cossa said in a Zoom call with media afterward. “When they made the (trade) I thought it might be for one of the goalies.

“I’m obviously excited and kind of anxious to (get started). They’ve seen my game. There are high expectations in Detroit and I want to live up to that.”

As a big goaltender, Cossa tries to use his mammoth size to his advantage in net.

“When I’m at the top of the crease, there’s not a lot to shoot at,” Cossa said. “I have to recognize that and pattern my game around that. I try to use that to my advantage. There might be bigger holes being a bigger goalie, but I’m able to skate well and tracking the puck, and being set in my position, I just have to be using all that.”

Swedish goalie Jesper Wallstedt was expected to be picked ahead of Cossa, but Wallstedt didn’t get selected until Minnesota traded up to pick Wallstedt at No. 20.

Cossa felt some pride in being the first goaltender selected.

“I had a strong season and my play kind of earned it,” Cossa said. “The confidence I have in my game, I’m going to be the best goalie in this draft. I think I got picked where I should be.”

Cossa transitioned to the goalie position when he was age eight, playing novice hockey.

“There were three goalies to start the year and by Christmas I was the last one standing,” Cossa said. “We were rotating all year. I just stuck with it.

“I love the pressure and stress that come with it, and I don’t get stressed, but I just love the pressure of being that last guy back there and being the villain or hero.”

The Wings will continue to be busy Saturday on Day 2 of the draft.

They pick 38th (second round), 70th (third round), 102 and 128 in the fourth round, 134th in the fifth round and 166th in the sixth round.

Detroit News editor Mark Falkner contributed.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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