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2019 NHL Draft Preview: Dylan Cozens

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Will the highest drafted Yukoner of all time find his way to Edmonton?

Dylan Cozens
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With tonight’s focus solely on the NHL’s superstars attending the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, we move ever so closer to the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Trade talks have heated up, but all indications from Oilers GM Ken Holland point toward Edmonton holding on to the #8 pick.

Plenty of names have been connected to the Edmonton Oilers at the #8 spot but none of them have really jumped off the page as of yet. Names like Philip Broberg and Vasilli Podkolzin have been speculated recently, but before those two were mentioned as frontrunners there was one other player that was thought to be a lock to go to Edmonton IF he was still available: Dylan Cozens.

Who Is Dylan Cozens?

Dylan Cozens is a 6 foot 3 and 180lb centerman that spent last season playing with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League (WHL).

The Athletic’s Corey Pronman recently wrote a great scouting report on Cozens where he labeled the Yukon native as being a player with power and speed.

There is no doubt that Cozens’ is a powerful player. His 6 foot 3 frame immediately makes him that much closer to making an impact in the NHL this coming season. For a player of his size, Cozens skates surprisingly well.

Cozens’ speed is definitely a strong point in his game as he is easily able to gain the zone. Defending him is also difficult due his long wing-span as well as the speed and pace he plays with.

His skill level isn’t anything special but it is above average. Cozen’s won’t amaze with silky dekes like Matthew Boldy might, but he is still very capable at making defenders look silly on occasion and a lot of his skill is demonstrated while moving.

The same goes for his vision on the ice, it’s better when he’s moving. At a standstill Cozens’ vision isn’t anything special. He is especially talented at making plays down low in the offensive zone and will be relied to continue that in the NHL.

Cozens’ huge frame could be misleading for some, because he is not an overtly physical player by any means. Yet, he does use it to his advantage by playing a very hard game. He is able to absorb body checks and force his way to the net whether defenders let him or not. Of course this doesn’t always result in a goal but he does tend to force pucks toward the net.

Overall, Dylan Cozens presents as a capable top 6 power forward with above average skating and a knack to put the puck towards the net. His standstill passing and vision could use some touching up but when he is movings with speed he’s an absolute freight train.

Draft Day Projection

Early draft rankings had Dylan Cozens in the top 5 of his draft class. In fact, Sportsnet’s Sam Consentino and TSN’s Craig Button had him going #3 behind only Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko. Consentino had some nice words to say about the soon-to-be highest drafted Yukoner

Since then there has been some falling for Cozens’ in the draft rankings. While most still tank him in the top 10, there aren’t as many top 5 placements.

In their most recent draft rankings The Athletic’s Corey Pronman has him going #6 to Detroit, TSN’s Bob Mackenzie ranks him at #6 as well, while Sportsnet’s makes it 3 for 3 as he has Cozens going at pick #6 as well.

Does Edmonton Make Sense?

Edmonton is in need of a skilled forward option that can play in their top 6 in the next 1-2 years and Cozens has the potential to be just that.

His size and play style will certainly be attractive to the Oilers. The team is in need of a faster player with size who can make plays deep in the offensive zone. Think about how successful Patrick Maroon was when he first came to Edmonton and how much better he would’ve done if he had speed to match his size.

While other forwards in the range, notably Cole Caufield, provide more of a scoring threat they have question marks about whether or not they can carry that success into the NHL. Caufield played with Jack Hughes and his size is a cause for concern in, what was proven by a very physical Stanley Cup Final, a league that isn’t kind to undersized players.

There is also a regional appeal to Dylan Cozens as he would become the highest drafted player from the Yukon Territories if the Oilers select him at #8. Of course, this should not be the reason the Oilers draft him but its a nice consolation nonetheless.

Cozens would certainly have to drop to the Oilers in order for them to pick him up. As mentioned, Cozens finds himself ranked pretty much unanimously in the #6 spot but, as last year’s draft taught us, there is always potential for players held in high esteem to drop down in the lower half of the top 10.

Theres a reasonable belief that Cozens could make the team out of training camp this October, but I’d bet that he spends another year in the WHL, arriving to the NHL at the beginning of the 2020/21 season.

Dylan Cozens makes a lot of sense for the Oilers as he would add size and speed to the top 6 when he eventually does make it to the NHL. There are areas of improvement that need to be addressed, notably his puck skill, but the raw set of talent that he does possess is very good.

Conclusion

Dylan Cozens should be on the top 3 list for players that could be available at pick #8. It is my belief that Ken Holland and the Edmonton Oilers would love to have a player like him on the board when they go up to draft.

At this point in time I would rank Cozens as my second choice at the #8 selection only behind American Matthew Boldy. Cozens is a more consistent player than Boldy and his mix of size and speed is also very impressive, but I give Boldy the edge only due to his immense skill level with the puck.

Where do you think Dylan Cozens winds up on Friday?