Photo Credit: Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oil Kings
Sebastian Cossa is a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from Hamilton, Ontario. While Cossa was born in Hamilton, he spent the majority of his childhood in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Cossa was living in Fort McMurray at the time of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildlife fires and recounted what life was like for his parents, Sandra and Gianni and his brother, Nicholas in a post by Alyscia Warner of the Edmonton Oil Kings communications/public relations team. The post also talks about the Fort McMurray floods and Cossa’s time at home during the pandemic.
He played U15 hockey for both the Fort McMurray Oil Barons U15 AA and the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers U15 AAA. In his 2016-2017 season with the Rangers, he was the top goaltender in the AMBHL (AEHL U15). Cossa posted a 1.80 GAA and a .934 SV% in 19 games played. He was awarded the AMBHL Most Valuable Player of the year.
Prior to his 2017-2018 season with the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers U18 AAA team, he was drafted in the second round of the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft by the Edmonton Oil Kings. Cossa played two more seasons in the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers system and joined the Oil Kings for the 2019-2020 season.
Since making his WHL debut in 2019-2020, he’s been one of the top goaltenders in the league. This season, he posted outstanding goaltender basic stats including a SV% of .941 and a 1.57 GAA.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen two WHL goaltenders drafted by the 50th overall pick in the NHL Draft. Those two goaltenders are Carter Hart (48th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, Philadelphia Flyers) and Mads Søgaard (37th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, Ottawa Senators). In all likelihood, Cossa will be taken higher than both Hart and Søgaard. He will likely be a late first round/early second round selection at the 2021 NHL Draft. If taken in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft, he will be the first WHL goaltender since Carey Price (5th overall in the 2005 NHL Draft, Montréal Canadiens) was drafted in the 2005 NHL Draft to be taken in the first round. He will also be the ninth goaltender from the WHL to be drafted in the first round since since the inaugural amateur draft in 1963. Aside from Price, some of the more notable WHL goaltenders that were selected in the first round include hall of famer Grant Fuhr (8th overall in the 1981 NHL Draft, Edmonton Oilers) and Trevor Kidd (11th overall in the 1990 NHL Draft, Calgary Flames).
D.O.B – November 21, 2002
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Weight –212 lbs
Position – Goaltender
Catches – Left
Cossa’s Style Of Play
Sebastian Cossa is a hybrid goaltender. With his size, he is able to stand tall and make saves with ease. But, on the grand scheme of things, Cossa makes more butterfly saves than saves when standing tall. The majority of his stand up saves come when his opponents are firing shots from low danger/the point. When not facing low danger shots, you can expect Cossa to drop down into a butterfly stance.
Cossa will start to crouch when the rush passes the perimeter. He will then crouch even further and lower himself when the attacker is in high danger, takes up more space and extends his pad out past the post to limit the shooter’s options.
Athleticism and Speed
Cossa loves to show off his athleticism but dropping to all fours on the breakaway. Usually, the attacker is too far down low for him to elevate the shot at that point. Cossa sprawls out and pushes the puck out of the crease. He has proven to be rather quick when it comes to shifting out of RVH to sprawling. While he enjoys sprawling out, it takes Cossa too long to get back up to his feet and that leads to vulnerable situations for Edmonton.
But, the speed and quickness that Cossa embodies is what truly wows me about his athleticism. He is quite speedy when going from left to right when facing a two on two with one attacker coming down the right side (attacker’s right side) and a second attacker who found open ice at net front. Cossa deploys quality edge work to help push him from side to side. In addition, his reaction time is quite fast when closing up the five hole and when jumping back up to standing stance from the butterfly.
Cossa’s post security is air tight. He can take up roughly 65% – 75% of the post with his 6’6/212 lbs frame. When protecting the post on his right side, his blocker is overlapping the post and his shoulder sits near the top of the net. On the left side, it is very similar as you will see his glove overlapping the post instead of having his glove behind the post. Cossa will utilize RVH over VH when protecting the posts. In my views, I didn’t see Cossa using VH at all. Not only does Cossa using RVH bode well for him from a speed perspective since one leg in a kickstand position, but it also allows Cossa to take up a good portion of the lower net with his pad. This allows Cossa to quickly shift over from a RVH position to standard butterfly at net front on a dime.
Vision is often forgotten when evaluating goaltenders, but it shouldn’t be. Especially when talking about Cossa. When there is an attacker behind his net, Cossa keeps a watchful eye on him when the attacker moves from right to left and vice versa. Not only is Cossa able to keep a good watchful eye when facing pressure from behind his own net, but given his frame he also has the ability to look over the shoulders of an attacker when the attacker is at net-front trying to block Cossa’s visions. Cossa will be open up his sight-lines once again but shifting his head back and forth around the attacker to get a good view of the puck from.
In general, Cossa has a good blocker and glove. There is no concern about how he utilizes his glove nor blocker. The only issues that Cossa seems to have with his blocker is that he will get beat on occasion on the top blocker side. In the screenshot below from InStat Hockey you can see Cossa’s goals against heat map from the last 50 games. Over the course of those 50 games, he tends to give up the most goals top blocker and mid-to-low glove side.
He tends to complete gloves saves when facing medium and low danger saves. Not many glove saves when taking on shots from down low. But, when he does use his glove, the majority of the time Cossa will use his upper chest for support to make the catch.
Aside from analyzing his blocker and glove, you will notice when you watch Cossa that the majority of his saves are squared up. What that means is that he is facing the puck carrier dead on. He can defend shots off the rush with ease by squaring up, trapping the puck with his glove and using his chest for support. But, not only does he excel at trapping squared up saves with his glove on the rush, he also has plenty of success with saving point shots on the penalty kill.
When Cossa is facing a shot from beyond the perimeter and he has traffic at the crease, he will extend his pad out while in the butterfly to redirect the shot when he knows that he won’t be able to grab a hold of the puck. In low danger, when facing a shot, he will use his blocker, stick or pads to push the puck to low danger. If Cossa is defending against a relatively low shot from low danger, he might place his blocker and stick down low in front of his pad to redirect the shot.
He can also redirect and control rebounds when completing stand up saves. Cossa will lean on his glove to redirect saves to low danger.
While Cossa is solid at controlling rebounds, his rebound rate to low danger is less than the average of the goaltenders that I’ve tracked. His rebounds to low danger are lower than Benjamin Gaudreau, Carter Serhyenko, Jesper Wallstedt, Tristan Lennox and William Jupiter. It is also worth noting that he has a high rebound/save rate of 73.40%. The rate is on the higher end of the goaltenders that I’ve tracked.
Something that Cossa generally struggles with is puck manipulation. On breakaway goals at net front, he can be manipulated and drawn to one side. When it is slightly too late, the attacker will stutter step and shoot on Cossa’s other side. That doesn’t give Cossa enough time to shift back over.
He will also struggle with decision making on when to come out from the crease. There are instances of when he will drive out from the crease if facing shots from the outer hashmarks of the faceoff circles in high danger. When that happens, Cossa puts himself in a vulnerable spot because if the shooter has solid puck manipulation, Cossa might get drawn to on side and not be able to handle the shot as he shifted too far over. Cossa will also sometimes struggle with depth perception and go a bit too far out of the crease when facing a shooter dead on. Thus he leaves the net quite exposed.
There are also certain situations where he has possession of the puck behind his own net and passes the puck directly into danger accidentally. But, for the most part, he is a quality passer.
As we just mentioned in the decision making section, Cossa is a quality passer. In fact, this season, Cossa was 89% accurate with his passing per InStat. That passing rate is 15% higher than his rookie season in the WHL. But, keep in mind that Cossa played far more games in his rookie season than this past season due to COVID-19.
Cossa has shown that he is good at controlling the pace of the game prior to passing. Sometimes he will complete a subtly behind the back pass or drop pass when attempting to get the puck to his defender. But, as you would expect, he has shown to be rather successful at passing off the boards when passing to defenders along the half-wall.
As you can see from the Tableau screenshots below, Cossa has quality speed. He’s not the fastest in the group, but he is certainly near the top. In addition, when it comes to low, medium and high danger rebound control, he tends to be in the middle of the pack.
If you would like to view the tableau diagrams, they can be found here.
In addition, I wrote a post a few months back that explains more about the data that you are looking at and how to identify a goaltender on the diagram that controls rebounds at an exceptional rate and which ones are faster than the rest of the pack.
Starting Goaltender (NHL)
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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