Drafting goalies is a tricky business. Oftentimes, teams comes to regret using high picks on goalies. But, despite the risk, the temptation of drafting and developing the next franchise goalie is too strong for many teams to resist. On that note, our next draft profile is on the nearly-consensus second ranked goalie, Sebastian Cossa.
Who is Sebastian Cossa?
Cossa is originally from Hamilton, Ontario, but played his youth hockey in Fort McMurray and Fort Saskatchewan, and was drafted to the WHL for major junior. Picked by the Oil Kings 36th overall, he made an immediate impact playing 33 games in his rookie season. He is ranked 25th overall in our TWC Consolidated Draft Rankings.
Sebastian Cossa’s on-ice performance
|2019–20||D-1||WHL||Edmonton Oil Kings||33||2.23||.921|
|2020–21||D+0||WHL||Edmonton Oil Kings||19||1.57||.941|
Over the last three seasons, Cossa has developed into an elite major-junior level goalie. Although this season was shortened due to COVID, giving us only a small sample to evaluate, his .941 save percentage this year is incredibly impressive, even if he did play for a really strong Edmonton team.
Not unlike the Flames’ own prospect Dustin Wolf in Everett, Cossa should not be punished for playing on a good team. Good teams don’t guarantee good goalies, and there’s something to be said for a goalie who can stay focused even when playing behind top-tier defense.
Sebastian Cossa’s strengths
For the record, you don’t need to be big to be a successful goalie. But, it certainly doesn’t hurt, and one of Cossa’s greatest attributes is that he is truly huge. At 6’6″, and 212 pounds, think Ben Bishop for a size comparable. That’s a lot of goalie to throw at a very small puck.
But, to say a goalie’s greatest strength is their size takes away from the far more important skills they utilize, the ones they have spent years practicing and developing. Yes, his size is a unique trait that gives him an advantage, but to call it his greatest strength seems to minimize the other skills that make Cossa such a talented goalie.
One such skill is his impressive ability to track the puck. You’d be hard-pressed to find a highlight in which Cossa isn’t actively tracking the puck. The following clip shows a few sequences in which he shows an impressive ability to keep his eyes locked on.
Through traffic, in scrambles, and off rebounds, you can see Cossa never loses track and is never caught guessing. Even at the end of the clip, when he is beaten off a deflection in front (that was arguably a high stick), he sees it the whole way.
Something else that stands out when watching him play is his puck-handling. He is very confident and, more importantly, competent, when it comes to playing the puck. While Flames fans will remember the constant stream of gaffes from so-called puck playing specialist Mike Smith, Cossa prefers a less risky style, generally choosing short passes to defenseman over stretch pass
All in all, Cossa plays a well rounded and quite polished game for an 18-year-old goalie.
Sebastian Cossa’s areas of improvement
The one area in which Cossa could use some improvement is in becoming a bit more calm in his movements. Something you’ll hear goalie coaches talk about often is having “quiet feet.” That means not making extra, unnecessary, movements in the crease. Sometimes, Cossa makes lots of small adjustments when trusting his positioning and holding his ground would put him in a better position to make the save.
For such a large goalie, it would especially benefit Cossa to be more confident in his positioning, especially in scrambles, to avoid finding himself out of position due to over-adjusting and being that all-important split-second behind the play.
Most young goalies struggle with this, and being 6’6″ certainly helps cover this minor flaw in his game. But to reach his potential as an NHL star, this is the area of his game that could use some work.
Fit with the Flames
It’s hard to see a good fit for Cossa with the Flames. With Markstrom locked up long term as the presumptive starter for years to come, and Wolf in the pipelines, there isn’t really room for another goaltending prospect to step in anytime soon.
With Markstrom’s no-movement clause, the team couldn’t even move him if a new prospect came along and turned into a star. Not only that, but Wolf is already a high-end goalie prospect they will eventually need to make room for if his development continues as expected.
Considering the risk inherent to drafting goalies and the current state of the Flames’ crease, it wouldn’t make much sense to use the team’s top pick on a goalie, even if he does have tons of potential.
Sebastian Cossa is an enormous goalie who has played the last two seasons with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. At 6’6″, his size is a huge advantage for him as a goalie. But he is more than just a big guy who gets in the way of the puck.
He’s a talented player who excels at puck handling and tracking. For such a young goalie, he plays a very well-rounded game. His only weakness to speak of is a tendency to make too many small adjustments and movements instead of staying set for the shot an trusting his angles.
Drafting any goalie carries a good deal of risk, but Cossa is on the low end of the risk spectrum due to his exceptional skillset and size.
Projection: High-end NHL starting goalie
Previously: William Eklund, Dylan Guenther, Cole Sillinger, Jesper Wallstedt, Kent Johnson, Simon Robertsson, Fabian Lysell, Aatu Räty, Carson Lambos, Simon Edvinsson, Chaz Lucius, Mason McTavish, Brennan Othmann, Corson Ceulemans, Francesco Pinelli, Oskar Olausson, Xavier Bourgault, Zachary L’Heureux, Matthew Coronato, Zachary Bolduc, Logan Stankoven
Featured image created with Venngage.