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Sharpen Up: Week of July 22, 2019

All the Sabres news you need to know this week

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

We're inching closer to the start of training camp. While the Buffalo Bills report for their camp today (make sure you check out Season 2 of Embedded here), the Sabres will be doing the same soon enough. 

Fan Fest, which kicks off our Golden Season celebration, is on Aug. 17 and you'll definitely want to be a part of it. Details are available at and more announcements are on the way. 

Here's what you need to know.


Cozens signs entry-level contract

The Sabres announced last Monday that the team signed forward Dylan Cozens to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Cozens (6'3", 180 lbs., 2/9/2001) was selected by the Sabres in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver after finishing the 2018-19 season tied for 10th among all WHL skaters with 84 points (34+50) in 68 games for the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

In his second full season with Lethbridge, Cozens also ranked in the top 10 among WHL skaters in even-strength assists (10th, 34) and even-strength points (T-8th, 59). The Whitehorse, Yukon native added eight points (4+4) in seven playoff contests.

Video: Behind the Scenes: Round 1 of the 2019 NHL Draft

In addition to his WHL success in 2018-19, Cozens also represented Canada in international play twice last season. He recorded five points (2+3) in five games to help Canada to a gold medal at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August. He later served as an alternate captain for Team Canada at the 2019 IIHF World U18 Championship in Sweden, where tied for seventh in tournament scoring with nine points (4+5) in seven games. 

As a WHL rookie in 2017-18, Cozens won the Jim Piggott Trophy as the WHL's rookie of the year after he led all first-year skaters in goals (22) and finished second among rookies with 53 points. The forward has recorded 138 points (57+81) and a plus-26 rating in 128 career WHL games, adding 29 points (14+15) in 35 playoff games.

Cozens injured his thumb on June 29 and underwent successful surgery in early July. His expected recovery time is approximately two to three months. looks at Sabres new depth

Check out this story from, which breaks down some of the moves general manager Jason Botterill has made so far.

The Buffalo Sabres made headlines when they re-signed forward Jeff Skinner, who scored an NHL career-high 40 goals in his first season in Buffalo, to an eight-year contract on June 7, and hired Ralph Kreuger as coach on May 15.

Those moves could help the Sabres (33-39-10) end a Stanley Cup Playoff drought that began in 2012, but underlying numbers suggest the additions of defensemen Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju, and forwards Jimmy Vesey and Marcus Johansson, will bolster their chances.

It's been a long road for the Sabres, who finished 22 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference last season, but it appears that with their recent moves, they are moving in the right direction to close that gap.

The full article is available here.

Salary arbitration hearings begin this week

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Christian Djoos of the Washington Capitals, Zach Aston-Reese of the Pittsburgh Penguins and MacKenzie Weegar of the Florida Panthers are scheduled to have their salary arbitration hearings Monday.

Djoos, Aston-Reese and Weegar were among 40 NHL restricted free agents who filed for salary arbitration July 5, according to the NHL Players' Association.

Other notable players who filed include forward Sam Bennett and goalie David Rittich of the Calgary Flames, and New Jersey Devils defenseman Will Butcher.

Salary arbitration hearings will be held through Aug. 4. A player can sign a contract with his team any time before an arbitrator's ruling.

Buffalo Sabres: Evan Rodrigues (July 23), Remi Elie (Aug. 1), Linus Ullmark (Aug. 2), Jake McCabe (Aug. 4)

Last offseason, 44 restricted free agents filed for arbitration. Trouba, then with the Winnipeg Jets; Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci, now with the Toronto Maple Leafs; and Calgary Flames defenseman Brett Kulak, now with the Montreal Canadiens, were the only players to have their salary determined by an arbitrator. Anaheim Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour, now with the Buffalo Sabres, had a hearing but signed before the arbitrator's ruling. The other 40 each came to an agreement before his scheduled hearing.


Sharpen Up will return next week...

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