With the 7th Pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Buffalo Sabres Have Selected Dylan Cozens From the Lethbridge Hurricanes
About Dylan Cozens
With an emphasis on forwards at the top end of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft rankings, it’s no surprise to see Dylan Cozens find himself off the board so early. A 6-foot-3, 181-pound center with a unique combination of size, speed and skill, Cozens is able to play effectively on both ends of the ice and has high-end offensive upside.
The ability to use his size and shot to his advantage make Cozens a strong option to be a No. 1 center at the NHL level after more seasoning.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“The 2019 NHL Draft class is one of the better Western Hockey League classes in several seasons. It boasts a strong all-around centre in Kirby Dach, a strong offensive defender in Bowen Byram, and a really intriguing offensive centre in the form of Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Dylan Cozens.
Cozens is a really fun player to watch and one that WHL area scouts have been excited about for several reasons. He’s a high end offensive talent with a unique combination of size, speed and skill. He’s not a liability in any end of the ice, but the offensive zone is where he shines – he can use his large frame to create room to release his shot, or to open up space for his teammates.
The question marks about Cozens’ game somewhat stem from how sheltered he’s been, particularly this season. Fellow top WHL draft prospects Peyton Krebs (with the Kootenay ICE) and Kirby Dach (with the Saskatoon Blades) play on shallower teams, so they have to play in key situations and against top competition often. Cozens played on a really deep Hurricanes team in 2018-19, which allowed him a bit of breathing room in which to operate.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
That said, Cozens did exactly what you would hope he would do with the space he was afforded. Given the breathing room, he delivered – he was 11th in the entire WHL in points and fifth at even strength, both first among WHL first-time draft eligible skaters. He was one of his team’s offensive leaders and put his team on his back at various times.
For the past two seasons, the hockey world has seen Cozens with his training wheels on. Given the opportunity to play with the puck, he’s been good and occasionally great. The Hurricanes are losing five top forwards this off-season due to players moving onto the pros or aging out of major junior, so Cozens will be called upon to really carry the team. He’ll need to round out his play away from the puck, but his superb offensive mind and talents should give the ‘Canes a chance to win on most nights.
Simply put, he’s one of the top offensive players available in the 2019 NHL Draft. He might not be as versatile or rounded out as Krebs or Dach, but he’s a strong power forward – he’s a muscle car, not an SUV – and he could be exactly what NHL clubs are looking for early in the first round.
How This Affects the Sabres Plans
The Buffalo Sabres have consistently been stuck in a rebuild for roughly a decade. They’ve drafted well in recent years and have found some very high-impact players who can lead the core of their team for years to come. While that hasn’t turned into any tangible success yet, the hope is that a new coach in Ralph Krueger can help turn things around as the young players look to take the next step in their development.
Getting Cozens with this pick makes it possible for the Sabres to continue building their prospect pool and keeping the gears turning as they will eventually need younger players in their lineup to supplement the more expensive players. Getting Cozens at seventh overall is great value for this team who certainly needs as many young impact players in their system as possible.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.