The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of seven staff writers and over 250 fans that ranked players under the age of 25 as of July 15th, 2020. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player. This is our 2020 pre-draft rankings.
Next up on our rankings is forward Dylan Cozens, selected by the Sabres with the seventh-overall selection in 2019. After previously having worn an ‘A,’ Cozens was named as one of two co-captains of the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes this past season.
The 19-year-old has his best season yet, accruing 85 points in just 51 regular-season games played with the Hurricanes. His season included 38 goals and 47 assists, which tied him for fifth in the league in goals-scored and were top of the Hurricanes. Six of his goals were game-wining tallies, and he recorded 25 power-play points.
His previous career high was 84 points, which he achieved in 68 games in the 2018-19 season.
Cozens also played for Canada for seven games in the IIHF World Junior Championships. He averaged more than a point-per-game, with two goals and seven assists.
Overall, Cozens and the Hurricanes finished the WHL season fourth in the Eastern Conference, with a 37-19-2-5 record and 81 points. Following the season, Cozens was named Lethbridge’s Most Valuable Player. Had there not been the pandemic, he would’ve headed to Rochester for the end of the AHL season & playoffs after his junior season ended.
Now, the question is where Cozens ends up playing next season. It’s expected that he’ll make a push for an NHL roster spot, but you have to think the current circumstances throw a lot of uncertainty into the mix. We don’t know what the WHL’s playing status will be or when their season could begin, but the NHL likely isn't starting until December. Could that mean Cozens starts the season with Lethbridge, whenever they begin, assuming it’s before the NHL begins its season?
Whenever he does make the jump to the NHL, he has the potential to make an immediate impact, but that will obviously also depend on who he plays with and how the Sabres use him. Will we find out sooner rather than later?