Dylan Cozens (6-foot-3, 180 pounds), No. 5 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21-22, has been writing a monthly diary this season for NHL.com leading up to the draft. The 18-year-old forward had 84 points (34 goals, 50 assists) in 68 regular-season games in his second season with Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League. He had eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven WHL playoff games. Cozens also had nine points (four goals, five assists) for Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Sweden (April 18-28).
It's hard to believe the NHL Scouting Combine is less than two weeks away (May 27-June 1) and the NHL Draft is just over a month away.
It was great having the opportunity to play for Canada at the World U-18 Championship. We were over there for a long time, so I made some good friends. Obviously we didn't get the result we were hoping for (after a 5-2 loss against the United States in the bronze-medal game), but we battled hard and it was a great experience. It was also another chance to represent our country, so you really can't beat that. You're over there for almost a month, so it was a long time away from our families.
On our days off we would walk to Umea, Sweden, from where we were and it was super nice. I didn't know what to expect but we crossed a bridge into downtown and got to spend our off-days there. There were two huge malls there and a huge block with people everywhere; it was awesome just to explore Sweden.
The U.S. was a great team. It was cool getting the chance to play the United States since we're such big rivals. We wanted to win badly and I'm sure they felt the same way. I think we took a lot of penalties that game and it really cost us. They were able to bury their chances that day (four power-play goals) and that was the difference.
I did play against (U.S. center) Jack Hughes once before, at the World U-17 Championship in 2017-18. He's such a dynamic, creative and deceptive player; just a very good player.
Right now I'm getting prepared for the NHL Combine with sessions in my hometown of Whitehorse, Yukon. I'm not training super hard, but I want to do well at the Combine. I know I need to give my body a little bit of a break after the long season.
I think what I'm most looking forward to at the Combine is meeting with the NHL clubs. Since I know where most of the teams are picking now (after the NHL Draft Lottery on April 9), a lot of the clubs will be focused on players they think they might want to draft so that's going to be pretty cool.
With the draft being so close and being able to meet with teams, you sort of get an idea where you might end up. I'm also going to enjoy being around all the guys who are experiencing the same thing as me this year and in their draft year.
I followed the Western Hockey League playoffs even after we were eliminated by Calgary in the first round. One of my closest friends is defenseman Bowen Byram of Vancouver. His team reached the final against Prince Albert, but their team lost in seven games. Bowen had an awesome tournament, though, and was fun to watch. One day I want to be there; I want to be hoisting that WHL championship trophy.
It's amazing we're at this point in the season already. Your draft year always seems so far away but it just creeps up on you. At one point you're getting ready to start, and then all of a sudden it's over and the draft is a month away. I'm just kind of waiting to see what happens because it's gone by so fast. It feels like it was only a couple of weeks ago I was just starting the season.
I'm expecting between 30 and 40 family members and friends to be with me at the draft. Personally, I'm happy with the way the season went. I wanted to focus on being consistent from start to finish and even getting better from start to finish. I think I did that and was able to show I could play a full season and be consistent almost every game.
Thanks for reading this month. I'll check in again after my testing is complete at the Combine.
Listen: New episode of NHL Draft Class presented by adidas