“The true enemy won’t wait out the storm. He brings the storm.” – Jon Snow regarding the Night King. Now I am not comparing Cozens to the Night King or a White Walker. But for a young kid who grew up playing hockey on a frozen pond… all…damn…year round, I could not stop thinking of the land “North of the Wall” and how Whitehorse, Yukon compared to it. But this is where Dylan grew up and worked on his game. By aged 14 he traded the summer frozen pond in Whitehorse to attend the Delta Hockey Academy and after a year there he moved on to Yale Hockey Academy, where in 30 games he posted a cool 57 points and was drafted 19th overall by Lethbridge in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft.
In his first year in the WHL, he posted 22 goals and 53 points in 57 games. Coming in 1 point shy of fellow rookie, Payton Krebs, who had 17 goals and 54 points and lead all rookies. After a solid rookie year, he was invited to team Canada’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup try out and made the team. They won gold and he served as the teams third line center. He had 2 goals, 1 of which was the controversial goal against the United States, and 5 points in 5 games. In his second year in the WHL he posted 34 goals and 84 points in 67 games. He, like Dach and Krebs, started the year very well and continued that throughout the year. He did how ever start the year as a RW on the Hurricanes top line, until December. On November 29, the Hurricanes traded for Jake Leschyshyn and Nick Henry (Avalanche prospect) As a RW, he posted 12 goals and 31 points in 19 games, scoring at a pace of 1.24 points per game. After the trade, he was moved to the Hurricanes second center position, where he continued his pace of 1.23 points per game, putting up 22 goals and 53 points in 43 games. This move is where he really rounded his game out and greatly improved his 200 ft game and really became a solid defensive player to go along with his offense. Diving deeper into his numbers, of his 84 points, 59 of them came while on 5v5. His 25 goals 5v5 lead the U-18 WHL draft eligibles as well as his 0.87 points per game 5v5. Of his 84 points, 62 were primary, and he also had a short-handed goal to go along with his 8 power play goals. Following the 2018-19, Cozens headed over seas with the Canadian U-18 squad, where he had 4 goals and 9 points in 7 games.
Size, Skating and Shooting
The first thing you will notice about Cozens is that he is big. Standing at 6’3, he is even taller on skates. But he uses every inch and pound of his body to muscle the puck away from players and make plays. He is not afraid to throw his body around and use it to his advantage. Whether it would be protecting the puck or hitting someone to gain back possession, he uses his body well and that should translate nicely into the next level.
To go along with his big frame, is his skating. It’s excellent for a man of his size. He has very good speed and quick acceleration, which is not typically found in someone of his size. Because of this, he is able to play the 200ft game very well. I like his edge work and the ability to change direction with relative ease. Not only is he quick, he is powerful in his strides and motion, and with some added muscle, he will have an even greater balance in order to protect the puck better when down low or in front of the net.
To me, he is a shoot first guy. It’s a quick shot, which he often gets off in the high slot, where he likes to position himself. He often creates space so he can get his shot off with ease. He has a variety of shots to use as well. I really like his snap shot and wrist shot. Both are very quick in release and accurate. He does have soft hands, which he uses when in close to the goalie.
What others are saying about him
“He combines all aspects of skating, quickness, acceleration, balance, agility, into one dynamic package that’s allows him to dictate things rather than play reactionary. Cozens is a capable stick handler who can control the puck at high speeds before making the proper decision more times than not.” – Steve Kournianos ~ The draft analyst
“One of the best skaters in the draft, and he has a high level of skill, intelligence and compete in his game that can be deployed in any situation and competes very hard every shift.” Corey Pronman ~ The Athletic
“He’s a difference maker. He’s very fast and utilizes his speed very well. His playmaking abilities are exceptional. He’s a reliable two-way player.” - Lethbridge Hurricanes coach Brent Kisio
Someone suggested I add this to my write-ups. So here is how I think he would fit with the Avalanche. If Sakic and co drafted him they would be getting a big guy, who can skate and shoot, and could potentially play 2C for them. I think he would be best served as a RW for the Avs who can fill in at C depending the situation. Between Rantanen, him and Kaut, you would have a really big and skilled right side. I think his speed and ability to play a 200 ft game fit with what the Avs are doing and want in players. Solid guy as well, so there are no character problems with him. He would fit in the locker room very well. He would be a safe pick in my eyes. He does everything very well, just not elite.
Where will he be drafted and NHL time frame
He is in this group of prospects that could go anywhere from 4 to 10. Some believe he is a center and others think he will be a wing in the NHL, which will impact how soon he will be selected. I do believe he could be close to the NHL, depending on the situation, but 1 or 2 more years in junior is probably the best thing for him. Let him be the man in Lethbridge this coming season and he should get a shot at Canada’s U-20 team as well.
Other Scouting Reports: