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#NHLDraft21 Recap: Red Wings bolster back end with Edvinsson and Cossa

Detroit selected 6-foot-4 Swedish defenseman Simon Edvinsson with the sixth overall pick and traded up to select 6-foot-6 goalie Sebastian Cossa at No. 15 on Day 1 of the 2021 NHL Draft

by Josh Berenter @DetroitRedWings / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- Steve Yzerman has a plan for building the Detroit Red Wings back into championship contention and he's sticking to it.

Detroit's executive vice president and general manager continued executing that plan during Round 1 of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft on Friday night as he selected 6-foot-4 defenseman Simon Edvinsson with the sixth overall pick and traded up from No. 23 to No. 15 to select 6-foot-6 goalie Sebastian Cossa.

Edvinsson is a 204-pound Swedish blueliner who played on four different levels last season, including with Frolunda HC's U-20 and Swedish Hockey League clubs, and on loan with Vasteras IK of the HockeyAllvenskan, combining to earn 12 points in 38 games throughout the year.

 

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The 18-year-old also earned a bronze medal for Team Sweden in the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, tallying four points in seven games to lead the team's defensemen in scoring.

Yzerman said he's excited about Edvinsson's potential to be a top-four defenseman for the Red Wings in the future.

"He's a big, rangy D that can really skate," Yzerman said after Round 1. "He's got good puck skills. We just see his potential to be a defenseman that can log a lot of minutes. Left-shot defenseman that can be a solid defender that can add some offense to the game as well. We like his skating ability, his size, his reach and we're hoping he can become a big-minute defenseman for us."

Video: Steve Yzerman talks after 1st Round of 2021 NHL Draft

Edvinsson is the second big defenseman that Yzerman has taken with the sixth overall pick in the last three drafts after he selected 6-foot-4 blueliner Moritz Seider at No. 6 in 2019.

Yzerman knows that championship teams have elite defensemen who can be relied on to excel in all situations and eat up minutes, and the Wings' GM is beginning to build that defensive corps with several talented prospects, including Seider and now Edvinsson.

"You're not winning without a good D-core, and I think once you are a solid defensive hockey team, you're going to be competitive, and you can win a lot of nights," Yzerman said. "We'll be able to, over time, add to the offense."

While it was nearly 3 a.m. in Sweden when Edvinsson heard his name come off the board, the young prospect was full of energy when describing his feelings of being drafted by the Red Wings.

"When Detroit just said my name, it was an unbelievable feeling," Edvinsson said from his home in Kungsbacka, Sweden, surrounded by family and friends during a late-night draft party. "Just proud of being here, to be a part of the Original Six and Detroit, to be a part of the fans, the crew and everything, it's unbelievable."

Video: Simon Edvinsson | 2021 NHL Draft Media

The Red Wings came into the 2021 Draft with a league-high 10 picks, and they used some of that capital to target who they think can be the goalie of the future in Cossa.

Detroit gave up its 23rd, 48th and 138th overall selections in this year's draft to nab Cossa, but Yzerman said the trade will be well worth it if the 18-year-old netminder reaches his potential.

"Obviously when we pick him where we did, you hope you're getting a starting goaltender, and we think he has the talent to do that," Yzerman said. "There's a lot of work to be done between today and eventually becoming a starter in the National Hockey League, but we think he has that ability.

"Obviously he's big, but he's very athletic. He's technically sound, but very, very athletic. It's going to take a while, but we're excited. We think he's a real good prospect and he has potential to be a starter."

At 210 pounds to go along with his 6-foot-6 frame, Cossa said he's learning to use his size as a major advantage.

"When I'm at the top of my crease, there's not a lot to shoot at," Cossa said, noting that his idol growing up was 6-foot-3 Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price. "Tracking the puck is something that I really focus on. When I'm seeing the puck very well, I definitely use my size to my advantage."

Video: Sebastian Cossa | 2021 NHL Draft Media

Cossa's statistics from this past season speak for themselves and definitely back up the intrigue surrounding him.

As a member of the Western Hockey League's Edmonton Oil Kings, Cossa went 17-1-1 in 2020-21 and led the WHL in goals-against average (1.57) and save percentage (0.941), while his four shutouts tied for the league lead and his 17 wins ranked second.

His numbers were among the best in WHL history, posting the third-lowest goals-against average and third-best save percentage in the history of the league.

Because he boasts such an impressive resume, the Hamilton, Ontario native brings a tremendous amount of confidence and swagger onto the ice, and he said he's eager to prove the Red Wings made the right move by trading up to get him.

"I think I'm going to be the best goalie in this draft," Cossa said bluntly. "So I think I got picked where I should be. I want to be a top goalie in this league. There's high expectations in Detroit, and I want to live up to that."

Red Wings director of amateur scouting Kris Draper said he was extremely pleased with the way things worked out for Detroit in the first round.

"Simon Edvinsson was our highest ranked prospect on our board and that's how we came to the selection of announcing his name," Draper said. "When you think about the prospects that we have coming on the back end and the size that we have, it's obviously very exciting to add Simon to that to that group.

"And it just seemed everyone that we were talking to were real big fans of Sebastian. Real excited to be able to add Sebastian to the organization. A 6-foot-6, athletic goaltender with very good technique and technical points in his game. It was something that we felt was very intriguing to the Detroit Red Wings."

Video: Kris Draper speaks after 1st Round of 2021 NHL Draft

The 2021 NHL Draft wraps up Saturday with Rounds 2-7, beginning at 11 a.m. After the trade with the Dallas Stars on Friday to acquire Cossa, Detroit has six picks remaining, including in the second round (38th overall), third round (70th overall), two picks in the fourth round (102nd and 128th overall), fifth round (134th pick) and sixth round (166th overall).

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