2023 Player Report Card: Dylan Cozens
The Workhorse from Whitehorse made a huge leap during his third season in Buffalo.
Total Season Stats: 31-37-68 in 81 games played
Contract Status: Signed through 2029-30, $7.1 million AAV, will be UFA at the start of the 2031-31 season
Dylan Cozens is another Sabres forward who made huge offensive strides this year. No. 24 finished the season with 31 goals, 37 assists and 68 total points, 30 more than his point total from the previous season and dwarfing his 4-9-13 record in 2021-21. While his first year as a Sabre was part of a COVID-19 shortened season, the center vastly improved since he came to Buffalo as an untested 19-year-old from the Yukon.
While Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch cemented the Sabres’ highest scoring trio throughout most of 2022-23, the “Kid Line” of Cozens, JJ Peterka and Jack Quinn, made a lot of great plays and goals on the ice, too.
Cozens also proved he could play just as well on other lines, when head coach Don Granato started shifting players around. One notable performance was on April 8 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The game was tied in the middle of the third, and after Rasmus Dahlin blocked a Canes’ shot and forced a turnover, Cozens got possession and passed the puck to Thompson, who quick released it into Carolina’s net to give the Sabres a 4-3 lead.
Cozens also got some help from Thompson and Dahlin several months earlier on January 19, when Buffalo went to OT against the New York Islanders. TNT fed the puck to Dahlin, who passed it to Cozens. No 24 took control of the puck and beat Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin 12 seconds into the extra period to win it 3-2.
As well as his scoring and passing ability, Cozens never backs down from a fight or hesitates to take on any opponent regardless of size. On March 19, the Sabres hosted the Boston Bruins. The notoriously thuggy team was up 4-0 in the second period when Cozens took off the gloves with Trent Frederic, after Frederic made a hit on Dahlin. No. 24 got in several good punches before Frederic managed to answer back and the refs put both fighters in the box.
Whether it involves scoring, assists or standing up for his teammates, the Workhouse from Whitehorse has more than lived up to his name. With a long-term contract and stats that keep improving, he deserves the highest mark possible.
Season Grade: A+