Edvinsson, Cossa highlight Red Wings’ roster at prospect tournament

Detroit News

Detroit — The wait is finally over for Red Wings fans.

They’ll get their first opportunity to watch live some of the organization’s best prospects —  and to get to see the first real hockey of the upcoming season — this weekend at the 23rd annual NHL Prospects Tournament at Traverse City’s Centre Ice Arena.

Recent draft picks such as defensemen Simon Edvinsson, Albert Johansson and Eemil Viro, and forward Elmer Soderblom will make their North American debuts wearing Wings’ jerseys playing in the talent-rich tournament.

Fourteen of the 24 players on the Wings’ tournament roster are former Wings draft picks, with two first-round picks (Sebastian Cossa, Edvinsson) highlighting what is an intriguing look at what could be the Wings’ future.

The Red Wings, Dallas, Toronto, Columbus and St. Louis will field teams filled with many of their best organizational prospects in a round-robin schedule.

The tournament begins Thursday, although the Wings open play Friday at 3 p.m. against Columbus, followed by games Saturday (6 p.m. vs. Dallas), and Monday (11 a.m. vs. Toronto).

Over the tournament’s history, 728 players have moved on to play in at least one NHL game, including 19 who played for the Red Wings last season. That list includes Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri (St. Louis), Filip Hronek, Dylan Larkin, Gustav Lindstrom, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina), Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider.

Here are some of the young players that Red Wings fans will want to keep an eye on in this tournament:

► Simon Edvinsson, defenseman: Wings fans finally get to see Edvinsson in the team’s jersey after breathlessly taking in all the highlights from Sweden last season. Edvinsson, 19, one of the Wings’ two 2021 first-round picks, was superb for Frolunda and is in the hunt for a spot on the Wings’ opening-night roster. But the mobile, versatile 6-foot-6 Edvinsson needs to rebound after a mediocre performance in the world junior championships for Sweden last month.

► Sebastian Cossa, goaltender: With the goaltending situation appearing set in Grand Rapids, it seems the Wings will return Cossa (a 2021 first-round pick) to Edmonton (WHL) for one more junior season. Cossa, 19, wasn’t able to win the starting job for gold-medalist Canada at the recent world junior championships but was dominant leading Edmonton to the Memorial Cup Finals. Cossa will likely get a lot of playing time in this tournament.

► Donovan Sebrango, defenseman: Sebrango, 20, seems like he’s been around forever, because of playing in Grand Rapids during the COVID-marred seasons. Sebrango starred for Canada’s gold-medal-winning world junior team last month and continues to make a name for himself as a possible NHL player within the next couple of years.

► Elmer Söderblom, forward: After the social-media highlights from Sweden and breathless reports, the 6-foot-8 Söderblom, 20, is likely going to attract a lot of attention. Söderblom scored 21 goals for Frolunda and showed the shot and hands that, combined with his size, make him an intriguing prospect. It’ll be interesting to see how well Söderblom handles the speed and quickness in this tournament.

► Eemil Viro, defenseman: Viro is another young player who Wings fans on social media have wanted to see. He was a 2020 third-round pick and now begins his North American career. Viro isn’t big (6-foot, 171 pounds) but has sound defensive instincts, can play with an edge, and most of all, his skating and passing make Viro dangerous. Viro will start the season in Grand Rapids.

► Albert Johansson, defenseman: Finally arriving in North America, the 2019 second-round pick isn’t big (6-foot, 170 pounds) but he’s an elite skater and can move the puck. Johansson, 21, has played three pro seasons in Farjestad, but it’ll be interesting to see his first real taste of the speed, physicality and smaller rinks in North America.

► Cross Hanas, forward: A positive tournament and training camp with the Wings could land Hanas, a 2020 second-round pick, a roster spot in Grand Rapids. Hanas scored 26 goals for Portland (WHL) last season and reversed a sub-par 2020-21 COVID-marred season (five goals). Hanas will be looked to for offense this weekend.

► Kirill Tyutyayev, forward: The 2019 seventh-round draft pick was actually one of the surprises of last year’s tournament, including scoring two goals in the opening game. Tyutyayev eventually only played nine games in Grand Rapids, suffering an undisclosed season-ending injury. Can Tyutyayev duplicate the offensive spark he showed last year?

Red Wings tournament roster

Forwards: Julien Anctil, Trenton Bliss, Cross Hanas, Ivan Ivan, Marcus Limpar-Lantz, Amadeus Lombardi, Mitchell Martin, Jacob Mathieu, Riley Piercey, Elmer Soderblom, Kirill Tyutyayev, Jake Uberti, Drew Worrad, Pasquale Zito.

Defensemen: Seth Barton, Simon Edvinsson, Albert Johansson, Tnias Mathurin, Oscar Plandowski, Donovan Sebrango, Eemil Viro.

Goaltenders: Jan Bednar, Sebastian Cossa, Andre Oke.

2022 NHL Prospect Tournament

Who: Prospects from the Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars.

When: Thursday-Monday

Where: Centre Ice Arena, Traverse City

Schedule: Red Wings play at 3 p.m. Friday (vs. Columbus), 6 p.m. Saturday (vs. Dallas), 11 a.m. Monday (vs. Toronto)

Streaming: All Wings games from the tournament will be carried live on DetroitRedWings.com and on the Red Wings’ social-media platforms (Facebook and YouTube).

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan

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