When the Buffalo Sabres chosen Dylan Cozens seventh total within the 2019 Draft, they knew that they’d a tough working ahead with a love for the sport. Since his arrival within the NHL, he has finished nothing however develop and get considerably higher as a participant, and this season was a powerful success for him personally. He not solely established himself as a top-six ahead within the NHL, however he proved time and time once more that he’s arguably top-of-the-line gamers the Sabres have at their disposal.
Cozens was proper on the cusp of breaking out on the NHL degree in 2021-22, and it appeared like he was doing all the things proper. He performed the sport onerous and quick, however he simply was not getting the puck luck he wanted. Regardless of these struggles, all of the indicators pointed to him having an enormous 2022-23 season, and he did. The Sabres had been a greater crew due to his success, and he was one of the enjoyable gamers to look at all 12 months lengthy.
Cozens Earned His Payday
Halfway by means of the season on Feb. 7, Cozens signed an enormous seven-year extension price a complete of $49.7 million ($7.1 million common annual worth [AAV]) and it was an absolute steal. Cozens proved himself to be one of the versatile forwards in Don Granato’s ahead arsenal, seeing time in each scenario, and being a major faceoff man for essential attracts. Cozens was the ahead not named Alex Tuch that Granato might flip to when he wanted one thing finished.
His efficiency stat-wise not solely justifies his contract, but it surely leaves room for much more enchancment. Cozens completed the season with 31 targets and 68 factors, each of which shattered his earlier profession highs of 13 targets and 38 factors in 2021-22. On the ripe younger age of twenty-two, he has contributed offensively, defensively, and in a management facet. He’s seen always when he’s on the ice, and he by no means takes a shift off. Even when he’s having a poor recreation, or when the crew is just not performing as they need to, he can nonetheless be seen on the bench smiling and having the time of his life enjoying within the NHL. That sort of dedication can’t be neglected in relation to how a lot of a job he has performed in altering the tradition in Buffalo.
Cozens’ Fantasy Worth
It doesn’t matter what sort of fantasy league somebody performs in, Cozens was a “will need to have” for any lineup. As a result of his common numbers in 2021-22 he was not rostered at a excessive proportion early on, so those that picked him up noticed some incredible outcomes. Getting 30-plus targets out of any participant is price having, and being a middle who gained a very good variety of attracts, he had some excellent peripheral protection. He’s the sort of participant that won’t be neglected as a lot within the coming 12 months, so if he will be acquired for a cheaper price, he’s well worth the funding. He won’t be shedding any ice time in Buffalo because of how essential he’s, and he has each power-play and shorthanded level potentials to extend his worth on high of all of it.
Cozens’ Remaining Grades
He did all of it this 12 months. From scoring huge targets to mentoring the opposite younger gamers on the roster, there was not a single a part of the sport that Cozens didn’t excel on this season. He stepped up any time there was a necessity. Whether or not that was Tage Thompson being out with an harm, or being the spark plug that the opposite high gamers wanted after they slumped, he was all the time one of many main catalysts for any scenario. His presence on the ice is impactful and he’s now established as one among their greatest all-around performers. With that, listed here are what his last grades would seem like:
- Scoring – A
- Protection – A
- Playmaking – A
- Management – A
- Teamwork – A
The sky is the restrict for a participant like Cozens, and if he will increase his bodily recreation, there’s not telling how good he actually might grow to be. He was an enormous purpose why younger rookies like JJ Peterka and Jack Quinn each had excellent seasons, and as they proceed to develop chemistry with each other, the crew will solely enhance as a complete. The most effective half about Cozens is that he can play with every other participant on any line and nonetheless be productive. He’s the kind of participant that makes these round him higher, and that can solely additional enhance the Sabres’ improvement course of. Don’t be stunned to see him spend a while with with the likes of Jiri Kulich and Matt Savoie in the event that they make the crew subsequent 12 months.
Cozens’ Has a Longer Future Forward Of Him In Buffalo
Cozens received one among three main extensions that Buffalo handed out this previous 12 months, which implies he will likely be an enormous a part of their core for years to come back. He has all of the expertise on the earth, and much more work ethic to again it up. Past that, the child is fearless and decided to enhance his recreation. Cozens has been the participant chosen various time to be the one to match-up in opposition to high abilities like Connor McDavid, and he has risen to the duty each time. Having a participant like that be an affect to your younger creating ones is past invaluable.
Associated – Sabres 2022-23 Participant Report Card: Jack Quinn
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Will he be capable to take excessive middle spot from Thompson? There’s a risk, sure. Thompson is the extra offensively charged ahead since he’s the higher scorer, however Cozens’ potential to be extra versatile could give him the sting in the long term. Having two younger, stud facilities is a good drawback to have, particularly when they’re below cut price contracts for seven extra years. The Sabres have various budding younger forwards, however Cozens is the prime instance of what good, gradual improvement is. He’s thrilling to look at, and he will likely be a dominant power for the Sabres’ offense for a few years. On high of that, he will likely be a first-rate candidate for the captaincy when Kyle Okposo decides to retire in a 12 months or two. Till then, he’ll proceed to guide and dominate in his personal method.