Dylan Cozens (6-foot-3, 181 pounds), a projected top-5 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21-22, will write a monthly diary this season for NHL.com leading up to the draft. The 17-year-old forward is in his second season with Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League. Winner of the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL Rookie of the Year last season, Cozens is second on the Hurricanes with 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 33 games. In his third entry, Cozens discusses the team at the winter break and getting an invitation to participate in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 23.
Hello hockey fans.
We've hit the winter break and I'll be heading to Palm Springs, California, with my family for some rest and relaxation before returning and gearing up for the second half of the season at Lethbridge.
We definitely stepped up our play in the last couple weeks, going 10-1-2 in our past 13 games. We made a big trade with Regina on Nov. 29 and got forwards Nick Henry (Colorado Avalanche) and Jake Leschyshyn (Vegas Golden Knights). Since then we've been a real hard team to play against. We should be a scary team in the second half of the season.
I've been playing on a line with Taylor Ross and Jake Elmer. The trade created a little more depth in our lineup and relieved some pressure off some of us, so it definitely helps. We basically have two first lines right now, so it's hard for other teams to match up against us. It creates so many more opportunities for both lines to succeed.
We haven't really changed too much of the game plan. It's always been about execution, and now I feel like we've been able to execute everything a lot better. We have two strong power-play units, and that helps a lot.
I was excited to learn I'll be part of the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Red Deer (Alberta, Canada). It's definitely a game I'll look forward to playing with and against some of my old friends, some of whom I played with on the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup team over the summer. The game always features the top prospects from the Canadian Hockey League, so it's going to be a super-intense and skilled game. I don't think you want to focus too much on impressing everyone; just go out and play your game. I know I'm not going to worry about all the people and scouts watching and trying to look good. I'll just go out, play my game, do what I do best and it'll all work out.
Finally, I'm looking forward to watching the World Junior Championship on television at Christmastime. It's a tradition. Ever since I was a little kid, I always remember watching the world juniors. I know some of the guys on Canada so I'll be watching and supporting them for sure.
It didn't surprise me at all that 17-year-old Alexis Lafreniere (2020 NHL Draft-eligible) made the team. He's a super-skilled player, and I know him pretty well because we were roommates during the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. When you see the numbers he's putting up in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (54 points in 31 games with Rimouski), it's pretty exceptional. He's a really good player, a likeable guy -- and he's funny too.
Well, that's it for this month. Thanks for reading and check back in January.