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#NHLDraft21 Preview: North American and European Goalies

Top ranked goaltenders Wallstedt and Cossa are expected to be picked in the early rounds of the NHL Draft

by Matthew Falkenbury @DetroitRedWings / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- It has been 16 years since a goalie was taken in the top 10 of the NHL Entry Draft and it's been 48 years since the Detroit Red Wings took a goalie in the first round.

But with the Red Wings having two first-round picks in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft on Friday night, top-ranked goalie prospects Jesper Wallstedt and Sebastian Cossa could be the players that break those trends.

Detroit is scheduled to pick No. 6 overall for a third time in the past four years, and at No. 23 -- acquiring the pick from the Washington Capitals in the Jakub Vrana trade on April 12.

Wallstedt, ranked No. 1 among international goalies by NHL Central Scouting, has been picked by different mock drafts as going to the Red Wings at No. 6.

Video: Art Regner's 2021 NHL Mock Draft | Word on Woodward

Wallstedt played 22 games this past season for Lulea of the Swedish Hockey League, going 11-8-3, with a 2.23 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. He played in two games for Sweden in the 2021 World Junior Championship and amassed a .923 save percentage.

 

[Get complete coverage of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft with Red Wings Draft Central presented by Meijer]

 

The 6-foot-3, 214-pound goalie isn't lacking confidence in his ability to be ready for the NHL when given his opportunity.

"I can be a great goalie one day and make my team win a couple of Stanley Cups, hopefully," Wallstedt said in a feature about his career with Joshua Kloke of The Athletic.

In an interview on the NHL's Draft Class podcast, Al Jensen of NHL Central Scouting discussed where Wallstedt is right now as a prospect and what could be in his future.

"He's playing at a higher level, is a big kid, has a lot of good skills," Jensen said about the 18-year-old goalie. "I could see him in 2-3 years getting a chance in the NHL, maybe ahead of the other guys, but it doesn't mean the other guys won't catch up. I think Wallstedt might be ahead, physically and in experience at the higher level to jump to the NHL. It depends on who drafts him and who they have in their system."

Video: 2021 NHL Draft Prospect Profiles: Wallstedt and Cossa

Cossa, the No. 1 ranked goalie among North Americans by NHL Central Scouting, had a big year with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League as he went 17-1-1 with a 1.57 GAA, a .941 save percentage and four shutouts in 19 games.

Jensen pointed out many of the different strengths that Cossa has as an 18-year-old goalie.

"He's got the calmness, strength and confidence that you need," Jensen said about the 6-foot-6, 212-pound netminder. "And for his size, he moves extremely well, gives himself a chance, battles hard and never gives up on plays. He has great net coverage, whether it's flaring out his pads for the low corners, but he also keeps his body upright in case there's a deflection so he could use his shoulders or gloves. He's so smart at reading plays, being square to the shots."

Corey Pronman of The Athletic had Cossa as his top-ranked goalie in the Draft and felt that his future in the NHL had no limits.

"I love his selective aggressiveness with his positioning," Pronman said on June 15. "And how he takes away angles with his size as well as how well he uses his stick to break up a lot of plays. In a sentence, Cossa projects as a quality NHL starting goaltender with the potential to become an upper-echelon goalie."

The Red Wings have selected at least one goalie in every draft since 2014, including Jan Bedar in the fourth round in 2020, Keith Petruzzelli in the third round in 2017 and Filip Larsson in the sixth round in 2016.

Current Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss is under contract for one more season and was protected in the NHL Expansion Draft, while Jonathan Bernier is set to be an unrestricted free agent when free agency begins on July 28.

 

NHL Central Scouting Top International Goalies

No. 1: Jesper Wallstedt: 6-foot-3/214 pounds

No. 2: Aleksei Kolosov: 6-foot-1/185 pounds

No. 3: Patrick Hamrla: 6-foot-3/194 pounds

No. 4: Aku Koskenvuo: 6-foot-4/173 pounds

No. 5: Carl Lindbom: 6-foot-0/165 pounds

 

NHL Central Scouting Top North American Goalies

No. 1: Sebastian Cossa: 6-foot-6/210 pounds

No. 2: Benjamin Gaudreau: 6-foot-2/175 pounds

No. 3: Tristan Lennox: 6-foot-4/190 pounds

No. 4: Olivier Adam: 6-foot-3/178 pounds

No. 5: Emerik Despatie: 6-foot-1/173 pounds

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