The Detroit Red Wings went with a more veteran look this season, but their overall focus is still very much on building through the draft, developing, and counting on their top prospects to be future difference-makers.
Defenseman Simon Edvinsson, goaltender Sebastian Cossa and forward Marco Kasper were sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins at the end of the exhibition season. Their status as former first-round picks comes with high expectations, and high interest — and are the subject of this week’s mailbag.
Reader Theo G. wrote, “Edvinsson had a good camp, I thought he might make the team. How is he doing in GR? And what about Cossa and Marco?”
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Edvinsson has impressed
Multiple members of the front office have told me how impressed they’ve been with Edvinsson, going back to his performances in the exhibition season, specifically regarding his strong skating and improved decision-making. General manager Steve Yzerman all but signaled he didn’t think Edvinsson, the No. 6 pick in 2021, was ready to be a full timer in the NHL by adding three veteran defensemen (Shayne Gostisbehere, Justin Holl, Jeff Petry) in the offseason, but Edvinsson, 20, has done what he can to indicate he’s ready for a real audition.
The reckless plays that marred the nine games he played with the Wings last spring have been addressed. The Griffins haven’t had a great start — they won their first two games and then went winless in their next five, but Edvinsson’s play (three goals and an assist through seven games) has been strong. When he is needed in Detroit, he is poised to play so well that he sticks around.
Relief over Cossa
No prospect has provided a bigger relief within the organization with solid play than Cossa. The Wings used the first-round pick gained in the 2021 Anthony Mantha trade with the Washington Capitals to move up to 15th; then they passed on Jesper Wallstedt, who had been projected to be the first goalie drafted in 2021, and chose Cossa.
The main takeaways regarding Cossa from the two weeks spent in Traverse City in September were that he didn’t look very good and lacked confidence. Cossa, 20, gave up six goals in back-to-back games in the so-called prospects tournament (not so much a tournament as games against other organizations’ young players) and didn’t stand out in the primary training camp.
But the 6-foot-6 Canadian looked like the goalie the Wings see as their future in his first game with the Griffins, stopping 41 of 43 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Eagles. A week later, Cossa stopped 31 of 33 shots at Colorado. Four starts in, he had a 2.50 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.
More needed from Kasper
Kasper, the No. 8 pick in 2022, came to the Wings last spring after a strong season in the Swedish Hockey League (23 points in 52 games with Rögle BK). He only made it into one game because of a lower-body injury, but set expectations…
Read More: Simon Edvinsson, Sebastian Cossa impress 2023-11-05 11:10:14