The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. It was a combination of staff writers and over 600 readers that ranked Buffalo Sabres players under the age of 25 as of August 1, 2022. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production to rank each player.
Dylan Cozens is at arguably a great point in his young career. Only 21 and with just a few years - not even two full, normal NHL seasons - under his belt, Cozens is coming off a solid offensive season. He gave the Sabres a great idea of what he can be capable of last season, but he’s also in a position where he can excel even further, given the right tools.
By ‘the right tools,’ I mean, of course, the right training, conditioning, etc., but also the right players. Imagine Cozens playing alongside the likes of JJ Peterka, Jack Quinn, Tage Thompson, etc. for the next few years and what that crop of young players can accomplish.
Cozens dropped a few spots in the Top 25 Under 25 rankings this year from last, but realistically, I think that says more about the young talent and depth of the Sabres than anything about his play. Perhaps he can produce more offensively in the coming season - which some people hoped for last season. Most Die by the Blade readers gave him a ‘C’ score after last season; he met expectations, or maybe slightly exceed expectations.
It’s also still relatively early in his career, and he’s got a long way to go. Heck, he’s still going to be eligible for this list for another three years. He’s also in a contract year, as his entry-level deal expires at the end of this season. He’s earning $894,167 this season and will be an RFA next summer - if the Sabres even let it get that far. (Safe to say he’ll get a decent raise.)
All in all: Cozens is a player to be excited about. He’s come so far already, but there is also still much farther he can go. He’s the type of player that the Sabres could build a team around, and that’s exactly what they hoped for when they drafted him. Add in the right pieces around him and let him continue to develop offensively. His leadership skills are already flourishing, and he absolutely could be a captain in the NHL one day - and hopefully for Buffalo.