When the Buffalo Sabres chosen Dylan Cozens seventh total within the 2019 Draft, they knew that that they had a tough working ahead with a love for the sport. Since his arrival within the NHL, he has executed nothing however develop and get considerably higher as a participant, and this season was a convincing 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 probably the greatest gamers the Sabres have at their disposal.
Cozens was proper on the cusp of breaking out on the NHL stage in 2021-22, and it regarded like he was doing every part proper. He performed the sport arduous 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 have been a greater group due to his success, and he was one of the vital enjoyable gamers to look at all yr lengthy.
Cozens Earned His Payday
Halfway by 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 vital versatile forwards in Don Granato’s ahead arsenal, seeing time in each state of affairs, and being a major faceoff man for necessary attracts. Cozens was the ahead not named Alex Tuch that Granato may flip to when he wanted one thing executed.
His efficiency stat-wise not solely justifies his contract, nevertheless it 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 side. 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 sport, or when the group isn’t performing as they need to, he can nonetheless be seen on the bench smiling and having the time of his life taking part in within the NHL. That sort of dedication can’t be missed in terms of how a lot of a task he has performed in altering the tradition in Buffalo.
Cozens’ Fantasy Worth
It doesn’t matter what kind of fantasy league somebody performs in, Cozens was a “should have” for any lineup. On account of his common numbers in 2021-22 he was not rostered at a excessive share early on, so those that picked him up noticed some implausible outcomes. Getting 30-plus targets out of any participant is price having, and being a middle who received a superb variety of attracts, he had some excellent peripheral protection. He’s the sort of participant that won’t be missed as a lot within the coming yr, so if he will be acquired for a lower cost, he’s well worth the funding. He won’t be dropping any ice time in Buffalo as a consequence of how necessary 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 yr. From scoring massive 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 damage, or being the spark plug that the opposite high gamers wanted after they slumped, he was at all times one of many main catalysts for any state of affairs. His presence on the ice is impactful and he’s now established as certainly one of their finest all-around performers. With that, listed below 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 sport, there may be not telling how good he actually may grow to be. He was a large cause why younger rookies like JJ Peterka and Jack Quinn each had excellent seasons, and as they proceed to develop chemistry with each other, the group will solely enhance as a complete. The perfect half about Cozens is that he can play with some 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 shocked to see him spend a while with with the likes of Jiri Kulich and Matt Savoie in the event that they make the group subsequent yr.
Cozens’ Has a Longer Future Forward Of Him In Buffalo
Cozens received certainly one of three main extensions that Buffalo handed out this previous yr, which suggests he shall be a large 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 sport. Cozens has been the participant chosen numerous time to be the one to match-up in opposition to high skills 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 of take excessive heart spot from Thompson? There’s a chance, sure. Thompson is the extra offensively charged ahead since he’s the higher scorer, however Cozens’ means to be extra versatile might give him the sting in the long term. Having two younger, stud facilities is a superb downside to have, particularly when they’re underneath discount contracts for seven extra years. The Sabres have numerous budding younger forwards, however Cozens is the prime instance of what good, gradual improvement is. He’s thrilling to look at, and he shall be a dominant power for the Sabres’ offense for a few years. On high of that, he shall be a primary candidate for the captaincy when Kyle Okposo decides to retire in a yr or two. Till then, he’ll proceed to steer and dominate in his personal means.