As we all know, Jack Eichel showed up to training camp, failed his physical and was subsequently stripped of his captaincy. Now we’ve had plenty of talk about Jack this off-season and we’re kind of over it honestly.
Kevyn Adams said this about the captaincy situation:
“From our perspective and my perspective, I feel the captain is the heartbeat of our team, and we’re in a situation from where we needed to address that.”
Obviously Jack will most likely never play another game for the Sabres unless something wild happens. Adams also stated that the Sabres will not have a captain this season.
But who’s next? That’s the real question.
Now, you can push and say it should be a veteran player like Colin Miller, Kyle Okposo or even Zemgus Girgensons, but that’s probably not what you want to see. You could also say that Dahlin should get it because he’s the “superstar” on this putrid Buffalo roster.
However, the clear cut choice for the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres is Dylan Cozens, and here’s why.
Known as the Workhorse from Whitehorse, Cozens was drafted 7th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and has been making splash after splash since being drafted. He recorded an assist in his NHL debut, a 6-4 loss to Washington in January of 2021. Cozens, who had 16 points in 41 games last season, has shown grit and power along with a little bit of flash here and there.
However, it’s not his flashiness and skill as to why I think he should be the next captain, it’s his will to win and put himself on the line for his teammates. Multiple players have said that Cozens takes charge of the game when he’s on the ice and even in the locker room. He has shown time and time again that he can play in almost any situation and he will always stand up for his teammates.
Now that isn’t the only reason, one of the biggest reasons I believe Cozens should be the next captain of the Sabres is because of the way he carries himself and the way he talks to both the media and even his teammates. In a text conversation between him and Casey Mittelstadt, Cozens was the definition of a leader. Mittelstadt reportedly texted Cozens this after the Tampa Bay Lightning clinched their second straight cup, “we need one of those.” Cozens’ response to him was as follows “We all have that vision, and we all believe it can come true.”
In pressers at the start of training camp, when asked about the messages, Cozens had this to say:
“We’re just going to do what we can everyday to get better and better and hopefully reach that point one day.”
Now is it realistic? Who knows. But the want and the will is there and Dylan Cozens is showing that he can be that guy the team can turn to in times of need and that’s what the Sabres need now more than ever. He’s ready, Granato sees it, the players see it.
I think come the 2022-2023 season, Cozens should and will be named captain and you’ll see a new wave of Buffalo Sabres players built and banded together just like the Buffalo Bills of the past 4 seasons.