Buffalo Sabres: The top-10 players under 24, part two

Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Sabres
Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /

3. Dylan Cozens (18), Center, 2019 1st round, 7th overall

The 6-3, 187 pound Dylan Cozens has an NHL frame. He already has a rare combination of size, ability, and speed. It’s tantalizing to think about the player he’ll become once his body matures. Cozens is a scorer, last year for Lethbridge of the WHL, he had 84 points in 68 games. His junior season bookended a terrific WJC in which the center added nine points for Team Canada.

Cozens can beat opponents in so many different ways. His skating with the puck is superior. At the junior level, he can carve through defenders in the neutral zone like a wood chipper cuts up a tree limb. The 18-year-old has a non-stop motor, it seems like he’s always moving on the ice.

He doesn’t move for the sake of moving, Cozens is active in getting himself into position to contribute. For example, he quarterbacks the Lethbridge power play from the back. Although Cozens is a center by trade, he can handle the point and walk the blueline. It’s the culmination his puck handling, skating, and shooting abilities. When it comes time to let the puck fly, he has a devastatingly hard and heavy shot that is difficult for goalies to stop.

Cozens doesn’t ignore the defensive part of the game. One of the things that impressed scouts was his outstanding two-way game. He is active in his own zone and always seems to be in the right place. If he wasn’t as talented as he is on offense, Cozens could make the NHL as a shutdown forward.

As it is, the Buffalo Sabres have an outstanding player to add to the mix when he’s ready to turn pro. Cozens will be a top-six player as well as contributing to both the power play and penalty-killing units.