Sebastian Cossa believes he’s ready to play in Detroit Red Wings’ organization. Here’s why

Detroit Free Press

If Sebastian Cossa has a say, he’s playing in the Detroit Red Wings‘ organization next season.

The 6-foot-6, 215-pound goaltender delivered impressive numbers in 2021-22: A 2.28 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in 46 regular-season games for the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings, plus a 1.93 GAA and .919 save percentage in 19 playoff games that included a trip to the Memorial Cup.

From Cossa’s viewpoint, he’s ready to turn pro.

“Going into the season, I want to play at the highest level of hockey I can,” he said Monday. “I think my game is going to do the speaking for me and management obviously has the say in where I’m going to be playing. But I put a lot of work into my game and I’m very confident in myself and my game. I think for myself, I’ve already proven it to myself.”

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General manager Steve Yzerman just added Ville Husso to the Wings’ roster to fill out the tandem with Alex Nedeljkovic. Jussi Olkinuora was added to the depth chart in June, giving the Wings a 31-year-old with extensive experience in Europe to play with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Victor Brattström, a draft pick from 2018, is also under contract, and he played 32 games last season for the Griffins.

Cossa is in Detroit for the Wings’ development camp, which runs through Thursday, but he plans to stay a few weeks after that to continue his training. A conversation about his future could happen in that time frame. Cossa, 19, has been a big part of the Oil Kings’ success — it was his 1.57 GAA and .941 save percentage in a pandemic-shortened 19 games in 2021 that helped persuade Yzerman to trade up to select Cossa at No. 15 last year.

Cossa was drafted to be the Wings’ goalie of the future, but speaking in May, Yzerman was careful to note that goaltending, “is a tough position, and I’m definitely not going to rush a goaltender.”

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Cossa would seem to have earned a chance to push for a job in Grand Rapids. While the pandemic shortened the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, he thrived as a workhorse in 2021-22. (The only blemish came at World Juniors: Cossa cracked Team Canada’s roster in December, but it was Brett Brochu, a goaltender twice passed over in the draft, who was named starter by coach Dave Cameron. The tournament ended up being postponed till August because of rising COVID numbers.)

Cossa played 65 games in the WHL between Oct. 1-June 13.

“First full season in junior hockey, and especially with the playoff run we had at the end, it was a lot of hockey,” Cossa said. “It was a lot of experience for me and it was really good. I worked on some efficiency in my game. I was playing a lot of games and that’s tough on the body, especially in a short amount of time. I learned how to play more games and take care of my body that way.”

Phil Osaer, the Wings’ head of goaltending scouting and development, came to Edmonton at times to work with Cossa, and building relationships with more people in the organization is part of the benefit of development camp. The five-day event includes nutrition classes, which Cossa finds beneficial even eating right long has been part of his regime.

“I’ve always been aware of it,” he said. “At the end of the day, your body is your money maker and you have to take care of it.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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