The Buffalo Sabres opened their 2019 Draft class by taking speedy centre Dylan Cozens from the Lethbridge Hurricanes with the seventh overall pick
The Buffalo Sabres walked into the 2019 NHL Draft with the seventh overall pick in tow, and once the yearly spectacle got underway, they nabbed centre Dylan Cozens from the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
The pick also carried some history along with it as Cozens became the first player hailing from the Yukon Territory to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft.
What the Experts Say
“A long, powerful stride drives his elite speed. He’s a complete player with skill to burn in a sizable frame. Cozens owns an accurate and heavy release and uses that threat to look-off defenders and slide crisp passes into his mate’s wheelhouses.” – Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects
“One of the more explosive skaters in the draft, Cozens makes plays on the rush and can escape pressure. He lacks the same level of hockey sense of some of the players ahead of him, but he is no slouch in that regard, either.” – Chris Peters, ESPN
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Cozens started off his draft season with a solid showing at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup with Canada. He finished the tournament with a pair of goals and five points in as many games. He scored the game-tying goal with no time remaining in the gold medal game against the United States – time had expired, but the goal still counted.
From there, he’d look to build off a solid 2017-18 campaign that saw him finish fourth in scoring for Lethbridge with 53 points in 57 games.
The Hurricanes were looked at as a team that could make waves in the WHL playoffs and even push for a spot in the Memorial Cup. Cozens ended up leading the way offensively for the team, posting 34 goals and 84 points over 68 contests.
Lethbridge did have aspirations to make a run at the Ed Chynoweth Cup, but they were ultimately eliminated in the first round by the Calgary Hitmen. Cozens also brought it in the playoffs, posting eight points in seven games.
In his final chance of the season to impress scouts, the pivot showed out again, with nine points in seven games for Canada at the U-18 World Championships.
With his selection on Friday, Cozens became just the second player hailing from the Yukon to be drafted into the NHL. Peter Sturgeon was taken in the second round of the 1974 draft by the Boston Bruins.
Once he plays a game in the show, he’ll be just the third individual from the territory to accomplish the feat. Peter Sturgeon and Bryon Baltimore each played in the NHL, but they played just eight games combined.
Cozens will definitely surpass the six games that Sturgeon played over two seasons. The 18-year-old could play in up to nine games next season before the Sabres have to choose whether to send him back to junior. However, he could just head straight back to Lethbridge, where he would undoubtedly be the star attraction for a squad that’ll be aiming to make it back to the postseason.
Buffalo fans should be looking forward to Cozens being a full-time member of the Sabres. Putting him with Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt down the middle offers the team one of the most exciting centre cores in the entire league.
What do you think of the pick? Who would you like to see the Sabres target with their remaining picks in the draft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!