The Detroit Red Wings have recently showcased many of their younger players in both Detroit and Grand Rapids. From Carter Mazur potting two goals with the Griffins to Simon Edvinsson scoring two for Detroit, the young prospects are getting precisely what they need. The valuable ice time combined with professional experience, Detroit’s prospects are getting a head start on the 2023-24 season.
The early returns have been encouraging, too. Though Marco Kasper’s lower body injury kept him off the ice, his early play had staff, players, and fans raving. The performance of other youngsters has captured attention, too. From nearly a full season from Jonatan Berggren to Sebastian Cossa’s more steady play, the kids are showing they’re alright.
Here’s a look at several of those young players, starting in Grand Rapids with Carter Mazur:
Mazur Scoring for Griffins
The University of Denver didn’t get much of a chance to defend its national championship. But the Pioneers’ loss has been the Griffins’ gain. Five points in as many games, with three finding the net. Not bad for the third round pick out of Jackson, Michigan who seems on a fast track to the Motor City.
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) April 8, 2023
Mazur’s story is a favorite for fans, the state of Michigan product who was a 2021 third round selection. He was mentioned in the Hobey Baker Award conversation early in the season, and though his production slowed a bit, the forward finished with 22 goals and 37 points in 40 games.
Mazur inked his entry-level deal with Detroit shortly after Denver was eliminated. If the early returns with Grand Rapids are any indication, there’s a lot for the Red Wings to be pleased about.
Edvinsson Solid for Red Wings
It’s everything Red Wings fans and the front office could have hoped for with the 20-year-old defenseman. When general manager Steve Yzerman drafted him, Edvinsson was seen to have a high ceiling that if developed properly could give Detroit a phenomenal future pairing with Moritz Seider.
So far, so good.
Two goals in eight games, and a whisker from getting a third in the 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh. But his solid play has been noticed by opposing teams, and the young defenseman who tried to do too much in camp seems more at ease on the ice. But it isn’t without learning experiences, and head coach Derek Lalonde indicated that there’s only one more game of education.
“He’ll be in tomorrow and then we’ll see where he gets that last game,” Lalonde said before the Pittsburgh game. “It might make sense to give him the home games and go from there.”
The showing has been promising. A strong offseason and camp should have Detroit solid in its pairings.
Berggren Continues to Move Forward
When Jonatan Berggren netted his 15th goal of the season, it was another feather in the cap for the 23-year-old who earned a call up after eight games with Grand Rapids. With 28 points in 64 games, the winger who fancied himself more of a playmaker, his double digit goal total shows flair for the left column of the scoresheet, too. Berggren has endeared himself to the fanbase with his willingness to go to the corners and play in the tough spots. The Swede is currently tied for 13th amongst rookies in points.
But the games in Detroit, which will number 68 if he finishes out the season healthy, will only help matters. Lalonde said as much when it comes to prospects like Edvinsson and Berggren.
“Huge with the development. These guys need experience,” Lalonde admitted. “They need important games. You want them to play significant games as long as possible. I think we’re all realistic that playoff hope kind of faded a little ways back but they as group, they decided to make these important games and play the right way. I think it’ll go a long ways for them.”
What About Sebastian Cossa?
After a less than stellar start in both Grand Rapids and Toledo, Cossa found his groove and has been a stalwart between the pipes for the Walleye. He lately demonstrated the swagger noted of him when Detroit drafted him 15th overall in 2021.
During a break, Cincinnati’s Justin Valve shot a puck down at Sebastian Cossa, who shot it out to center ice. Then Valve went off. pic.twitter.com/GpRbtm9fOR
— Mark Monroe (@MonroeBlade) April 8, 2023
Fair to say that Cossa is far more confident than when the season started. His .915 save percentage in 44 games as well as his 2.15 GAA speaks to the level of play. Cossa was selected as the ECHL’s goalie of the month in March and turned away 33 shots in Toledo’s 4-1 victory Friday night.
During his post-trade deadline press conference, Yzerman spoke about Cossa and emphasized how Cossa’s mindset has played a role in his surge.
“It’s been a challenge for him and he’d trending in the right direction,” Yzerman said back in March. “The one good thing I really like is he’s got a work ethic. He’s there in the (ECHL), he understands why he’s there and he’s working to get better. He’s trending in the right direction and as long as he continues to improve, we’re gonna be very patient with him.”
That patience appears to be paying off.