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Red Wings’ 3 Most Improved Prospects for 2023-24 Season – Hockey Writers – Red Wings Prospects

Although the Detroit Red Wings finished one point shy of making the playoffs this season, their top priority is still the growth and development of their young players and prospects. The “Yzerplan” – the name fans have given the team’s rebuild under general manager Steve Yzerman – has always been about drafting and development, and any newly rebuilt team will tell you that development is a very important part of that plan. .

So far in their rebuild, the Red Wings have generally been fortunate as most of their young players and prospects have improved over the years, although some have grown more than others. Development is not always consistent; you should expect bumps in the road as the young players get used to not only the competitive level, but life as a professional hockey player.

This season, the Red Wings have enjoyed growth and improvement from several of their prospects. However, the three prospects on this list stand out the most in terms of how much they’ve improved and how important their continuity is to the Red Wings organization. From a player who put his name on the map to a reset, these are the Red Wings’ most improved prospects for the 2023-24 season.

(G) Sebastian Cossa

Starting with the most important prospect mentioned here, Sebastian Cossa was the 15th pick of the 2021 draft and is widely regarded as the Red Wings’ goaltender of the future. But after a few seasons following his draft season, people seemed to be back with him as a prospect following his first full season in the American Hockey League (AHL).

After spending most of the 2022-23 season in the ECHL, Cossa appeared to rise to the challenge that the AHL presented this season. In 40 regular-season appearances, he had a 22-9-9 record, two shutouts, a .913 save-percentage (SV%), and a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.41. After spending most of the season with veteran Michael Hutchinson, Cossa became a key player and made the playoffs for the Grand Rapids Griffins. In nine playoff games, he had a 5-4 record, a .900 SV% and a 2.72 GAA.

Sebastian Cossa, Grand Rapids Griffins (Jonathan Kozub / Manitoba Moose)

Although the discussions surrounding Cossa are very positive, it is important to remember that this was not the case at the beginning of the season. Others have pointed out that elite forwards rarely spend time in the ECHL, let alone an entire season. He did not perform well in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament and throughout training camp. Over the course of this season, however, he managed to completely change the narrative. While his success as an NHL goaltender is far from guaranteed, Cossa has also proven to be one of the best goaltending prospects in the world. Depending on how things go, he could get his first taste of NHL action next season.

(W) Emmitt Finnie

Perhaps the most surprising name to appear on this list, Emmitt Finnie was the seventh pick, 201st overall, in last year’s draft. But the young forward had such a solid season with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL) that he was awarded an entry-level contract with the Red Wings in late March.

As the co-captain of the Blazers, Finnie has shown the ability to translate a strong forecheck into offense this season. In 62 games, he led his team in both goals (19, 3-way tie) and points (59), and excelled in frustrating opponents with his speed and persistence in pursuit of the puck. After a successful season in the WHL, he appeared in three AHL games with the Griffins late in the season.

Related: Griffins Notebook: Offseason, 2024-25 Outlook & More

In his rookie season, Finnie had just nine goals and 35 points in 64 games. The tools were there – his fitness isn’t something that came after the summer – but he couldn’t turn his efforts into offense. He’s looked extremely aggressive at times, though the Blazers unfortunately haven’t had much talent during his time with the team. If anything, his rise this season raises the specter of what he can do alongside a talented group of teammates – with due respect to the guys he’s played with this season.

Finnie’s success this season has officially put him on the map in terms of the Red Wings’ prospect pool. The organization gave him his first contract – the first vote of confidence a team can offer – and now he’s had a taste of what the next level is like. He should be an exciting prospect to keep an eye on next season.

(D) Aunt Tuomisto

Antti Tuomisto has been in the Red Wings program for five seasons now, but this season may have been big for him to establish himself as a legitimate prospect.

A second-round pick, 35th overall, in the 2019 draft, Tuomisto has been on quite a journey since the Red Wings called his name in the draft five years ago. The right-handed defenseman played a season of U20 hockey in his native Finland during the 2019-20 season, then spent two seasons at the University of Denver, including their run to the national championship in 2022. After good, not so good seasons with the Pioneers, he returned home to Finland for the 2022-23 season and seemed to have rediscovered some of the offensive power that made him an attractive prospect in 2019.

This season, he spent a lot of time with the Griffins, recording five goals and 17 points in 50 games while playing various roles on the blue line. When Tuomisto looked his best, he was paired with Simon Edvinsson in Grand Rapids’ top pairing. With Tuomisto standing at 6-foot-5 and Edvinsson at 6-foot-6, the two are almost identical, both big-bodied puck-moving defensemen. Both also played with a sense of composure that can only be learned with great experience. Since both Tuomisto and Edvinsson had pro-level experience in Europe, each of them understood exactly when to push and when to back off as defenders.

With Edvinsson set to join the Red Wings full-time next season, Tuomisto will need to establish chemistry with someone else to continue this momentum. Considering his similarities to Edvinsson, William Wallinder might be a good option. Another would be Shai Buium, Tuomisto’s teammate on that championship team in Denver. Regardless of who Tuomisto’s partner is/are next season, he has once again proven that he is someone to keep an eye on in a pool that has many of them.

Environmental Development

Naturally, these three players are not the only ones who have improved in the Red Wings system this season.

  • Marco Kasper looked better during the AHL season and you could tell when he was playing with full confidence.
  • Carter Mazur made the jump from “college player” to “professional athlete” look easy.
  • Buium came into his own this season with the University of Denver and will begin his professional career next season.
  • Trey Augustine has been outstanding for Michigan State University this season and looked extremely comfortable while representing the United States at the World Championships.
  • Several other players have also made some strides.

The Red Wings front office should feel good about progressing throughout their schedule this season. In order to achieve the ultimate goal of completing this rebuild and contending for championships, however, they will need more development from their young players as they begin to slowly change their roster and add homegrown players to the roster.

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