There were a numbers of factors conspiring to cause the Detroit Red Wings to miss the NHL playoffs last season. Goaltending was certainly among them.
When Ville Husso’s game was fading down the stretch, there was no Plan B available to stop the bleeding. Neither Alex Nedeljkovic or Magnus Hellberg were proving to be capable NHL backups.
— HV71 (@HV71) November 4, 2023
Certainly, there was no help coming from down on the farm. Jusse Olkinuora didn’t finish out the season with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. When he did play, Victor Brattstrom usually was playing poorly.
Not offered a new contract by Detroit at season’s end, Brattstrom was opting to return to his native season. However, things aren’t going better for him therte. Recently, he was sent on loan by HV71 of the SHL to Bjorkloven of the Allsvenskan, the Swedish Second Division.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, newcomers James Reimer and Alex Lyon are experienced understudies to Husso this season. And Grand Rapids is getting splendid puckstopping from both veteran Michael Hutchinson and top prospect Sebastian Cossa. Cossa owns a .923 save percentage and 2.50 GAA in four games. Hutchinson is sitting with a 2.52 GAA and .919 save percentage.
Grand Rapids coach Dan Watson believes that access to mentoring from a longtime pro like Hutchinson is an ideal scenario to amp up Cossa’s learning curve.
“Michael’s been around, he’s played for a lot of teams, a lot of different coaches,” Watson said. “He can share those experiences, he can share what it’s like for some of these bus rides after a game.
“I think partnering him up with a veteran like that is gonna help him even more. I’m excited to see him continue to grow here.”
Red Wings Prospects Giving College Try
Two of the top four teams in the NCAA hockey top-10 rankings include Red Wings prospects in their lineups.
The Denver Pioneers are currently ranked second overall. Defenseman Shai Buium (36th overall, 2021) has accounted for 2-2-4 totals through eight games and is plus-7. Buium was part of Denver’s 2021-22 NCAA championship club that also including current Griffins players Carter Mazur and Antti Tuomisto.
We ❤️ the Buium-to-Buium Connection. pic.twitter.com/WNOdnmQdWk
— Denver Hockey (@DU_Hockey) November 4, 2023
Meanwhile, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks are fourth in the rankings. Left winger Dylan James (40th overall, 2022) shows three assists on his ledger from eight games. He drew a helper on Saturday as North Dakota beat the Boston Terriers 5-4 in overtime. Ir was North Dakota’s first win over BU since March 16, 1990.