A goalie projected as a first-rounder is a bit of a unicorn.
Projecting a goaltender's development is a bit like alchemy at this point; lots of people try to do it, but no one is willing to admit they can’t. In the last five drafts, only three goalies have been taken in the first round; Yaroslav Askarov (Nashville Predators, #11 Overall, 2020), Spencer Knight (Florida Panthers, #13 overall, 2019) and Jake Oettinger (Dallas Stars, #26 overall, 2017). It's still too early to really know what these players really are — even the one drafted four years ago — which is the exact reason it’s so strange to see not just one but two goalies ranked in the first round.
Jesper Wallstedt is the top-ranked goalie prospect in the draft, but Sebastian Cossa, the goaltender for the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, isn’t considered that far behind him. An absolute giant at 6’ 6” and 212 pounds, Cossa would be the fifth tallest goalie in the NHL and only 19 years old at the start of the 2021-22 season. He doesn’t move like some gangly mammoth, though. Praised for being ginormous but still using his angles and agility to cut down quality plays, Cossa has solid side-to-side movement that aids him in blocking and recovering.
When it comes to goalies and drafting, many believe it’s ill-advised to draft them in the first round — you shouldn’t — but with the between-the-pipes talent that’s available, it’s certainly tempting (still don’t do it).
#22 by Elite Prospects
#15 by Craig Button/TSN
#24 by Dobber Prospects
#19 by Scott Wheeler/The Athletic
What Scouts are Saying
Standing at 6-6 and weighing 212 pounds, the Alberta native possesses the combination of size and athletic ability that NHL teams covet in the goaltending position. He has good fundamentals and uses his big body to square up to shooters, cutting down angles while being agile enough to get across his crease quickly. His height is an advantage when it comes to tracking pucks through traffic and his rebound control is quite good for a young goaltender as well. Cossa’s potential might not be on quite the same level as some of the recent highly drafted goaltending prospects but he isn’t far behind and the physical traits along with his athleticism might just be enough to make an NHL team take a swing on him towards the end of the first round.
I think Cossa has benefitted in the last two years from playing behind Oil Kings teams which have done a good job in supporting him, but you don’t post a .928 save percentage across 52 games spanning two seasons by accident and you’ve got my attention when you do it as his size. Bigger goalies often struggle with their movements and their recoveries but neither are an issue for Cossa. His size, positioning (he does a really good job holding his outside edges to be patient on shots) and reflexes help him block and grab a lot of pucks, but it’s his ability to bounce back into his stance or change directions with passes that separates him.
Sebastian Cossa— Joel Henderson (@dathockeydoe) January 22, 2021
6'6 tender @EdmOilKings
2019-20 - 2.23 GAA, .921%
Easily one of the prospects I've been lamenting due to not being able to watch play.
Positionally sound. Quick glove hand. Uses his length well. If he can add some more lateral explosion... goodness gracious. pic.twitter.com/vfStz9ddig
He mixes things up and recovers quickly on rebounds to get in front of multiple shot sequences in order to clear his crease. He’s not afraid to use his hands, and does a good job of covering up pucks before they spring loose for scoring chances. He’ll use a wide array of save options to match whatever the shooter presents.
Would He Fit In With The Wild?
Absolutely. Even with Kaapo Kähkönen still with the team after the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, the Wild’s organizational depth at goal is shallow. Déreck Baribeau has seemed promising in a short burst with the Iowa Wild, and Hunter Jones is interesting, but the Wild haven’t had a blue-chip goaltending prospect since Josh Harding.
Could The Wild Get Him?
If the rest of the NHL’s general managers stick to the “no first-round goalies” way of living, then they could very easily get him. With Jesper Wallstedt getting all the love as the goaltender of choice, and Cossa may even be available late in the first round, but he’s unlikely to be around by the Wild’s second-round pick at #54 overall.
If GM Bill Guerin did decide to take a swing on a goalie in the first round, whether the pick pans out or not will be easier to digest, knowing that he hit it out of the park with the other first-round pick. RIGHT, BILL?
A Minnesota Relation
A 6-foot-6 behemoth goaltender?
It’s Devan Dubnyk, no question.
You can’t ask for a better comparison, but Dubnyk never showed the promise Cossa has at the same age.
2021 NHL Draft Board
- Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Brandt Clarke — D, HC Nove Zamky (Slovenia)
- Luke Hughes — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
- Simon Edvinsson — D, Frolunda (SHL)
- William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
- Kent Johnson — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Mason McTavish — C/W, Peterborough Petes/EHC Olten (OHL/Swiss)
- Carson Lambos — D, Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
- Aatu Raty — C, Kärpät (Liiga)
- Chaz Lucius — C, USNTDP Juniors (USHL), U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)
- Cole Sillinger — C, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
- Sasha Pastujov — LW, U.S. National U18 team (USDP)
- Jesper Wallstedt — G, Luleå HF (SHL)
- Fabian Lysell — RW, Luleå HF (SHL)
- Matthew Coronato — LW, Chicago Steel (USHL)
- Oskar Olausson — F, HV71 (HockeyAllsvenskan/Swedish)
- Corson Ceulemans — D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
- Fyodor Svechkov — C, Togliatti (VHL)
- Brennan Othmann — LW, EHC Olten (SL)
- Zach Bolduc — C, Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)
- Xavier Bourgault — C, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
- Olen Zellweger — D, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
- Isak Rosén — LW/RW, Leksands IF (SHL)
- Zachary L’Heureux — C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
- Nikita Chibrikov — LW/RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
- Matthew Samoskevich — C, Chicago Steel (USHL)
- Francesco Pinelli — C, HDD Jesenice (AlpsHL)/Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
- Samu Tuomaala — RW, Kärpät (Liiga)
- Daniil Chayka — D, CSKA (KHL)
- Sebastian Cossa — G, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)