Red Wings’ Sebastian Cossa Dives Into His Professional Career

The Hockey Writers

Hockey season is underway and Sebastian Cossa is ready for his first season down in the United States. Transitioning from playing juniors in the Western Hockey League (WHL) to professional leagues such as the American Hockey League (AHL) and ECHL is a big jump to make. Although this is a big change, he is ready to make a splash at the next level.

Sebastian Cossa Edmonton Oil Kings
Sebastian Cossa of the Edmonton Oil Kings (Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings)

Cossa has had a lot of success while playing in the WHL but that is not exactly the best league for a goaltender to fully develop in. He had essentially maxed out what he could gain from playing in this league, so it was time for a change. Moving to the AHL and ECHL with either the Grand Rapids Griffins or the Toledo Walleye gives him the much-needed opportunity to play at a professional level. As a goaltender, this is an important transition to take note of since he will be facing shots from higher-caliber players and put in more high-pressure situations.

So, how has his transition to playing at the professional level been going so far? It’s still early in the season, but I’d have to say that he is off to a pretty good start.

Cossa Turning Pro

Cossa got his first career ECHL start on Oct. 14 against the Kalamazoo Wings. Although it was just a preseason game, getting this time in net was huge for setting him up for the upcoming season. He played the entire 60 minutes and was looking confident and collected on the ice, a hopeful sign for the young goaltender.

Related: Red Wings Weekly: Detroit’s Hot Start to the Season

Cossa made 29 saves on 31 shots for a save percentage (SV%) of .935 – a great effort for his first taste of playing pro hockey. The Walleye emerged victorious with a final score of 6-2 and he was huge in net (literally, he is 6-foot-6). This experience allowed him to get his feet wet and get an idea of how playing at the next level might feel. Almost immediately after this preseason win, he was shuttled back up to Grand Rapids to get his first start as a Griffin.

This was a widely anticipated moment for most Red Wings fans, especially those with a keen interest in prospects. Cossa made his pro debut with the Griffins on Oct. 19 against the Milwaukee Admirals. He was assigned to the Griffins on Oct. 8 and it was truly an exciting moment. It isn’t extremely common to see goaltenders get drafted in the first round, so there has been a lot of pressure and emphasis on Cossa since the 2021 NHL Draft. Seeing him finally break through to playing professional hockey brings him one step closer to hopefully fulfilling the prophecy that he is the Red Wings’ goaltender of the future.

Cossa was a huge part of what would be a 3-2 Griffins victory and his first professional win. He had 21 saves on 23 shots for a .913 SV%, which is not too shabby for his first pro game. He did not fold under the pressure of facing shots at the AHL level and put his best skate forward to keep the Griffins in a close game. As of Oct. 22, he is leading the Griffins in SV% and goals-against average (GAA) with a .913 SV% and 2.00 GAA, coming in ahead of Victor Brattstrom and Jussi Olkinuora.

What’s In Store For Cossa Moving Forward?

It seems as if Cossa will be a consistent floater between Grand Rapids and Toledo this season. With there being three goalies in Grand Rapids, it is a bit crowded and reassignments are inevitable. Brattstrom and Olkinuora are more experienced at the professional level so it is assumed they will be the primary tandem in Grand Rapids – leaving Cossa to be the floater. He’s already been bumped up and down a couple of times and the season has barely started, so odds are that this pattern will continue. 

Personally for me, it’s taking it day by day for now and just continuing to develop and working as hard as I can. I think I’ve made the jump pretty smoothly so far. I’ll just continue to do that.

– Sebastian Cossa

What matters the most is that Cossa is getting meaningful time in goal and facing shots at the professional level. Every time he takes the ice, he is working on being the best player possible while focusing on his technique and work ethic. Being a floater, for the time being, is in his best interest because it is enabling him to get time in net instead of being a scratch or benched in Grand Rapids behind the senior goaltenders.

Cossa still has a long road ahead of him before he is ready to take the call from Detroit, but his progress so far has been positive. It appears that he will be with the Walleye to start the 2022-23 season where he is likely to get more playing time, but it is hard to predict just when and where he will be playing long-term. In order for his development to continue, he needs to keep playing and facing shots and Steve Yzerman knows this well.

Ultimately, I want him playing regularly and I want him playing at a level that he is challenged but can be successful… I just want him playing at whatever level he is getting ice time, is challenged, and doing well.

– Steve Yzerman (from “Red Wings assign top goalie prospect Sebastian Cossa to Grand Rapids,” MLive, 10/8/22)

The biggest thing with goalie development is not to rush the process and Cossa is no exception to this even if he is the most talented goaltending prospect the Red Wings have seen since Jimmy Howard. He is a fun prospect to watch and has a lot of talent to bring to the table no matter where he is playing. As the 2022-23 season starts picking up speed, there will be a lot of new experiences for the young goaltender as he faces action at a completely different level. Ultimately, things are starting off on a good note and hopefully, they will continue to go in the same direction. Even though it’s very early in the season it is always great to see another Red Wings prospect being successful.

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