Things are rarely straightforward for first-year professionals, especially goaltenders making the adjustment from juniors, and Sebastian Cossa, 20, can attest to that.
The Detroit Red Wings drafted Sebastian Cossa with the 15th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Level Draft. Cossa enjoyed a stellar junior career with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League.
In three seasons with the Oil Kings, Cossa amassed an overall record of 71-16-7 while maintaining a 2.04 goals-against average with a save percentage of 0.925. The Detroit Red Wings’ top goaltending prospect has spent most of his first professional season with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL, a step below the AHL.
Detroit Red Wings goaltending prospect Sebastian Cossa is having a tremendous season in Toledo.
Although things didn’t start smoothly for Cossa, the 20-year-old has found his game over recent weeks and is beginning to dominate. Over his past seven starts, Cossa is 7-0-0 posting three shutouts. During this span, Cossa has allowed one goal or fewer in each of his last six starts. The surging backstop has posted an eye-popping 0.86 goals against average and a 0.969 save percentage over this stretch.
Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman recently mentioned that he admires Cossa’s work ethic.
“The one good thing I really like is he’s got a work ethic,” Yzerman said. “He’s there in the (ECHL), he understands why he’s there and he’s working to get better.
“He’s getting a lot of starts on a very good team in Toledo, a very good organization,. We’re really happy with our affiliation with them and how they run their program there.
“He’s playing the (ECHL) and our decision was really in debating with him where’s he gonna play, number one the most important thing was we want him playing a lot and we want him playing in a league where he’s being challenged, where it’s not too hard and not too easy,” Yzerman said.
Overall, Cossa has made 35 starts for the Walleye, posting a 20-13-2 record to go with a 2.50 goals-against average and 0.911 save percentage. Cossa’s four shutouts are tied for the league lead with teammate John Lethemon. Cossa had a cup of coffee in Grand Rapids this season, appearing in three games, but things didn’t go very well. Over those three games, Cossa made 47 saves but allowed a whopping 13 goals for a 5.57 goals against average and 0.783 save percentage.
Lethemon, 26, a former Michigan State Spartan, was recently signed by the Detroit Red Wings for the remainder of the season. By signing Lethemon to a contract, Lethermon will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, which will prevent him from hitting the open market and the ability to sign elsewhere.
Lethemon, a Northville, Michigan native, is having a fantastic season in Toledo, splitting time with Cossa. Lethemon has posted an incredibly remarkable 16-1-3 record, 2.08 goals-against-average, and a 0.927 save percentage over 24 games. With Detroit Red Wings goaltenders Magnus Hellberg and Alex Nedeljkovic, plus Griffins netminder Victor Brattstrom all on expiring contracts, there is a chance this Toledo tandem could find themselves together in Grand Rapids next season.