Hockey is slowly returning to the consciousness of fans and the first stop is the Detroit Red Wings Prospects Tournament which begins this Thursday in Traverse City, Michigan. While much of it will give clues as to what awaits in training camp and possibly preseason, questions still abound.
Here are five questions and some random thoughts as the Prospect Tournament looms.
Will Sebastian Cossa stand out in the tournament?
Outside of Detroit, the 15th overall pick in the 2021 draft has been impressive. But how will he fare when the eyes of the front office are watching him intently? Goalies can take longer to develop and it’s important for Red Wings fans to remember that as Detroit emerges from reconstruction. There are cautionary tales in Tim Chevelade and in some ways, Chris Osgood. The former was just hounded by fans and expectations until he left town while the latter had to overcome his own pressures. Osgood’s has won two Stanley Cups.
It’s too early for any kind of comparisons for Cossa. But it really feels like this is the youngster’s first real test. The Prospects Tournament is just the warm-up, but Cossa has the opportunity to boost the pre-season roster.
Can Amadeus Lombardi continue to turn heads?
The rookie camp following the 2022 NHL Draft gave Red Wings executives and fans a chance to see what Detroit had in store. Lombardi was a prospect who certainly came out of camp.
Draper, on writing Amadeus Lombardi: “I actually almost ran out of the script and did the ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ when I was going to pitch it.” lmao pic.twitter.com/BEV33kyZp6
— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) July 8, 2022
Besides having a ready-made goal song, Lombardi was crisp during rookie camp. While it’s more realistic that he’ll spend another season honing his skills, he’s an intriguing watch as a number of rookie forwards jostle for position.
Will Simon Edvinsson be dominant?
An injury cut short his appearance at the World Juniors, but if there’s one player who looks set to make Detroit’s opening roster, it’s Edvinsson. He’s a blue-line presence and could be the second rookie defenseman in two years to patrol the back of the lineup with Moritz Seider.
First of all, will Edvinsson look like a man among boys? If he is completely healthy, it certainly looks like he will be.
Could other defenders start claiming their place?
Absolutely. Donovan Sebrango, Eemil Viro and Albert Johansson are flying under the radar. The Red Wings roster is packed with players, but that shouldn’t deter the aforementioned defensemen. Both Viro and Sebrango have been strong at World Juniors while Johansson has quietly improved with each season he has played.
Does that mean they will have seats later? It’s more likely that they’re all in Grand Rapids to begin with. But of the three, Johansson could definitely have a head start in the competition. A solid rookie tournament for him could only boost his chances at the start of training camp.
And Elmer Soderblom?
Rookie camp is just the first step in what could be a giant leap for the big forward. His performance of 21 goals and 33 points in 52 games with Frolunda seems to be the appetizer of what could be a very revealing season. Whether in Grand Rapids or Detroit, Soderblom’s appearance on North American ice was highly anticipated. A dominating rookie tournament will only amplify the focus on Soderblom.
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