2019 NHL Draft Preview: Dylan Cozens, WHL Center

The hockey season ended far too early for the LA Kings, and the five-week anticipation of the NHL Draft feels like forever.

However, with the league’s 31 member teams knee-deep in their due diligence, this remains a peak preparation period for next month’s big event. Top 2019 draft eligible prospects Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko are still fighting it out at the IIHF World Championship. Kings prospects Sean Durzi and Markus Phillips will begin Memorial Cup play this weekend; along with several other draft hopefuls who are also participating in that tournament over the next week or so. Then, the NHL’s annual Scouting Combine will go down in Buffalo around the first of June.

Rumors are bound to be abundant after the Combine, as teams may have multiple interviews/meetings with players while in upstate New York, which should further define interest they may have in specific guys. This is also around the time when many teams will lock themselves away – planning draft scenarios, discussing strategy, talking trades with other teams, and otherwise finalizing their list before June 21st finally arrives.

We speculated briefly here on a potential strategy by the Kings. And while MayorsManor editor John Hoven has discussed the possibility of Los Angeles trading down from the fifth spot, this profile article takes a look at a player who may fall a few spots and be in the Kings’ wheelhouse.

As always, we should note, players featured in this series of articles are in no particular order and are presented as prospects who could have interest from the Kings in the 2019 Draft.

DYLAN COZENS

Vitals

Date of Birth: February 9, 2001
Height: 6’3
Weight: 181 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: Forward

2018-19 Season

Cozens spent his entire 2018-19 WHL season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, where he scored 84 points (34 G, 50 A) in 68 games – good for second on his team. He also had eight points (4 G, 4 A) in seven playoff games, third most on the club.

Busy Boy

On top of the regular season and playoffs, Cozens also represented Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this past August, recording five points (2 G, 3 A) in five games – fifth on his team en route to a gold medal. Further, the talented pivot also represented Canada at the U-18 World Championship, picking up nine points (4 G, 5 A) in seven games.

As an aggregate, he amassed 106 points (44 G, 62) in 88 games – comprised of 68 WHL regular season contests, seven WHL playoffs, five Hlinka Gretzky, seven U-18, and one night at the CHL Top Prospects Game.

Hurricanes Alumni

There are quite a few Kings connections to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Goalie coach Dusty Imoo, as well as Ontario Reign General Manager Richard Seeley, formerly played in Lethbridge. As far as former NHL players, Kings Stanley Cup winner Dwight King and Kris Versteeg also played with the Western Canadian club. Linden Rowat and Matthew Yeats never played in the NHL, yet they were both drafted by the Kings and at some point in their junior careers played for the Hurricanes.

Perhaps the most unusual coincidence ties to current Ontario Reign forward Brad Morrison. Signed by the Kings organization as a free agent last summer, he spent half the season playing with Cozens on the Lethbridge Hurricanes after spending half a season with other top 2019 draft prospect Bowen Byram on the Vancouver Giants. Maybe Morrison should have a side business as an amateur scout for the Kings?

Not Many From ‘Round These Parts

Cozens was born in Whitehorse, Yukon. Two other former NHL players were born in Yukon, and the last time one of them played was nearly 40 years ago.

Consistency Is Key

Of his 68 regular season games, Cozens was held without a point in only 18 of them. His longest pointless streak was three games. Conversely, his longest scoring streak was 15 games, where he amassed 23 points (7 G, 16 A).

Rankings by Independent Scouting Services

– 8th by The Draft Analyst, who stated, “Lethbridge power forward Dylan Cozens, a versatile player who scores in the clutch and has an infectious attitude as a team leader. Cozens can impact the game in a variety of ways, to include playing the wing as a sniper. For that reason alone, we think he’ll be the first of the three to don an NHL jersey on the draft stage.”

– 6th by Last Word On Hockey who wrote: “Cozens may never challenge for a scoring title, but he will still be able to score enough to be a first line center. Add in his strong defensive game, and the potential to grow into a Selke calibre center and he could be a franchise-changing force up the middle. While he has also played the wing in junior (mainly his rookie year), his skating, vision and hockey IQ all suggest his future is at center. In terms of playing style, he is reminiscent of Ryan Kesler, though this is not a skill-level comparison.”

– 5th by Bob McKenzie’s poll of scouts. Here’s what McKenzie had to say about Cozens in his article: “No. 5 is Dylan Cozens, a big, strong and powerful 6-foot-3, 181-pound center who plays for the Lethbridge Hurricanes. … He’s the opposite of [Kirby] Dach in many respects. Cozens is a shoot-first centre with a tremendous shot. He is a fast and powerful skater who plays a bullish power game. … Seven of 10 scouts had Cozens in their Top 5.”

See For Yourself

Andy Lehoux of Future Considerations provided a breakdown of Cozens’ style and skillset.

Final Comments

After reviewing this, you may be wondering why Cozen is a good fit for the Kings? He has a perfect blend of matching the Kings of old, where he has size and two-way offensive ability. Then, he also represents the organization’s forward-looking philosophy of emphasizing speed and scoring ability. Add in his leadership qualities and you have an interesting  combination of potential where he could land himself a myriad of roles on just about any team. For Cozens, it’s not a matter of if, but when he plays in the NHL.

NOTE: David Hofreiter was the lead contributor in the gathering of information used in this article. You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.

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