ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21-22. Forward Dylan Cozens is the No. 5-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the fourth and 16th overall selections at the draft.
At 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, power-forward Dylan Cozens is hoping to become the fourth player in NHL history to come from the Yukon territory.
Cozens, a native of Whitehorse, Yukon, traveled south to British Columbia when he was 14 years old to further develop as a hockey player and has been a top performer for the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the Western Hockey League. His size and speed combined with his versatility and skill are a few reasons why the player is a top draft prospect.
During the 2018-19 campaign, his second season in the WHL, Cozens racked up a total of 84 points (34 goals, 50 assists) in 68 games and led his teammates with his 1.24 points per game mark in a Lethbridge sweater. He also added four goals and four assists in seven playoff contests.
"I'm happy with the way the season went for me. There were some bumps in the road where I wasn't scoring a lot, but that happens to almost everyone, and it's just a part of the process," Cozens said in a draft diary post on NHL.com "You can't worry about it if you're scoring or not scoring. You have to keep playing, remain even keel and I was pretty happy with how I handled myself this year with all the pressure with this being my draft year. I think I adapted well, stepped on the ice and played my game. I'm happy with the way the year went in Lethbridge and look forward to next season."
Although he has recently seen success with the Hurricanes in the WHL, Cozens comes from humble beginnings. He practiced skating with his father on his backyard rink in Whitehorse until the age of 5 when he joined his first organized team.
In hopes of bettering his skills and continuing his dreams of becoming a professional hockey player, Cozens moved away from his home at the age of 14 to attend the Delta Hockey Academy He had 31 points (19 goals, 12 assists) in 25 games in British Columbia and tallied 31 points (19 goals, 12 assists) in 25 games.
Cozens was selected by Lethbridge as the 19th overall pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. However, his age restricted him from being on the Hurricanes' full-time roster and he spent the next year playing for the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. He finished the 2016-17 campaign by skating in three regular season games with Lethbridge and added eight points (three goals, five assists) 12 postseason contests.
In 2017-18, Cozens played his first full season with the Hurricanes and found success early on. He was the second highest rookie scorer in the WHL with 53 points in 57 games, which led him to winning the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL Rookie of the Year.
This year, Cozens showed that he is a well-rounded player by displaying his leaderships qualities serving as an alternate captain for Canada in the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. At the tournament he scored a total of nine points (four goals, five assists) before Canada fell to the U.S. in the bronze-medal match.
Cozens is often regarded for his versatility by his coaches. The forward is commended for his ability to be a solid center and wing player.
"I like his poise, presence and ability to seize big moments. He's gotten stronger and he's worked hard off the ice," Lethbridge head coach Brent Kisio said in an interview with NHL. "He's winning a lot more battles right now and we think he's rounding out his game. He's always been good on both sides of the puck, but he's really worked at it, and at playing good offensively and defensively."
With strong leadership qualities, proven consistency and versatility on the ice, there is no doubt Cozens will be a highly-coveted prospect as the draft approaches.