As we near the draft, it’s time to take a look at the other goalie prospect likely to be taken in the first round.
Today, in continuation of our community draft board series, we’ll be taking a look at Sebastian Cossa. The towering netminder has flashed plenty of promise in the WHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings, intriguing scouts with his blend of respectable athleticism, ideal frame, and cerebral approach to the position.
Cossa put up impressive stats with one of the WHL’s best teams in 2020-21, and is arguably the biggest reason behind Edmonton’s first place finish. The 6’6” tendy went 17-1-1 with a 1.57 GAA and .941 SV% in 19 games this season, putting him in league with some of the best goalie prospects to come out of the WHL in recent memory (those numbers are comparable to Carter Hart’s final season in juniors, albeit in a far smaller sample size and with better team support). How did Cossa elevate his stock, and is he a realistic option for the Flyers? Read on to find out.
BSH 2021 Community Draft Board, No. 27: Sebastian Cossa
Team: Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Stats: 19 GP, 17 W, 1 L, 1 OTL, 1.57 GAA, .941 SV%
No. 1 by NHL Central Scouting (North American Goalies)
No. 36 by Dobber Prospects
No. 15 by FC Hockey
No. 19 by Scott Wheeler (The Athletic)
No. 10 by Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
What’s there to like?
Cossa is a rare combination of size, athleticism, and production that makes for a relatively safe North American goaltending prospect worthy of a high draft pick. Typically, taking a chance on a netminder whose strength of competition is so weak would be a mistake, but the big fella from Hamilton is the exception to the rule. After producing elite numbers over a reasonable sample size and improving just about every aspect of his profile as a player (speed, anticipation, positioning, rebound control, playing the puck, etc), Cossa has slung himself into the upper echelon of prospects in what has been acknowledged as a weaker draft.
The two common traits that come up as “stand-out” on Cossa scouting reports are his lateral explosiveness and the overall fluidity he plays with for such a large goalie. Cossa has what scouts like to refer to as sneaky athleticism; he doesn’t make cartwheeling saves or full split stops, but he’s able to dart back and forth across the crease with opposing passes much faster than you’d expect. His recovery speed and ability to rapidly adjust his butterfly stance stood out to me whenever I watched Edmonton this year. In particular, I really enjoyed watching him improve on his rebound control over the past two seasons. The combo of ascending development and an established track record (Cossa dominated the WHL for the past two years, albeit behind a great team) makes this netminder an excellent bet to become an NHL starter.
What’s not to like?
Cossa still has some cleaning up to do on his puck tracking skills. I noticed that while his anticipation, positioning, and recovery were all impressive traits, there were times where he’d lose the puck and rely upon his reflexes and size to get the job done. While that might fly in the WHL, it won’t work in a professional league against the best players in the world without some refinement. It’s also worth noting that while Cossa’s rebound control improved, it still needs some work. Neither of these things should largely deter teams, but they’re important to take under consideration.
The biggest dividing factor on Cossa is whether he’s legitimately elite, or if he’s simply a very good WHL goalie who has benefitted from the team in front of him. While I personally think that he’s a great prospect who just happened to be on a good team, some of his detractors would point out that some of his tendencies would be exposed with less support. Goalies are an inherently risky proposition when discussing first round draft picks, much less goalies playing in leagues like the WHL where the parity can be nonexistent at times. If Cossa were putting up these numbers against men, he’d be a surefire top five pick, but his environment adds questions that otherwise wouldn’t be there.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
It’s an interesting question given the state of the team’s goaltenders (Carter Hart is seen as the franchise’s future despite a rocky sophomore season, Samuel Ersson has had some great years overseas, and Alex Lyon seems like a fine AHL starter for the time being), but Cossa ultimately would be at worst a top three prospect within the team’s system, only falling short of Cam York and Morgan Frost. The Flyers don’t have a glaring need at goalie on paper thanks to the presence of Hart, but should the preordained franchise savior not pan out (a reality we here at BSH will never consider) Cossa wouldn’t be a bad failsafe.
The Flyers made it very clear at their most recent press conference that they’ll be looking to take the best player available with every pick, regardless of position. Chuck Fletcher and Brent Flahr spoke of how they liked some of the goaltenders at the top of the draft, so one can presume the team sees Cossa as one of the better players who might be available. The final query is this: does the team want to add more uncertainty to Hart’s status in Philadelphia by drafting a backup plan, and is that honestly the best use of their assets? That’s up to Fletcher and company to discern.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
It’s entirely dependent on how the top of the draft shakes out, but it’s looking less and less likely that Cossa will make it past the top ten picks. In a class where the skater talent appears lackluster, the two standout goalies would logically benefit from the uncertainty. If Cossa is there at 13, it wouldn’t be an absolute shock, but it seems more probable than not that he won’t be.
We’ll make one more addition to the poll:
Isak Rosén, W, Leksands IF (SHL)
Rosen hasn’t popped yet at the pro level, but as a junior, between the J20 and international level, he looks like a dangerous scorer at wing. Rosen is very creative with his one-on-one play, showing the ability to beat defenders clean with consistency. Rosen has impressive speed and is able to make a lot of his skilled plays through defenders and to teammates while on the move. His game has a lot of pace to it, which should translate to higher levels. Rosen didn’t get a shot grade but he shows flashes of an above-average shot. He’s OK off the puck, but he doesn’t shy from making plays to the net. In a sentence, Rosen projects as a middle-six NHL winger. – Corey Pronman, The Athletic
- Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Brandt Clarke — D, Nove Zamky (Slovakia)
- Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton (WHL)
- William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
- Luke Hughes — D, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Simon Edvinsson — D, Frölunda HC J20 / J20 Nationell – 21/22
- Kent Johnson — W, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Aatu Räty — C, Kärpät U20 and Kärpät (Liiga)
- Jesper Wallstedt — G, Luleå (SHL)
- Mason McTavish — C, EHC Olten (SL)
- Cole Sillinger — C/LW, Sioux (USHL)
- Chaz Lucius — C, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Fabian Lysell — LW/RW, Luleå HF (SHL)
- Carson Lambos — D, JYP U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
- Matthew Coronato — F, Chicago Steel (USHL)
- Nikita Chibrikov — LW/RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL), SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
- Sasha Pastujov — LW, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Corson Ceulemans — D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
- Oskar Olausson — LW/RW, HV71 (SHL)
- Brennan Othmann — LW, EHC Olten (SL)
- Logan Stankoven — C/W, Kamloops (WHL)
- Zachary L’Heureux — LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
- Zachary Bolduc — C/W, Rimouski (QMJHL)
- Simon Robertsson — RW – Skellefteå AIK (SHL)
- Xavier Bourgault — C/RW, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
- Sebastian Cossa — G, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
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