Believe it or not, the 2019 NHL Entry Draft is just 14 days away. The draft will be held on June 21-22 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Chicago Blackhawks have just two weeks until they have to make a final decision with the 3rd overall pick. As of last week, Blackhawks director of scouting Mark Kelley said they had narrowed it down to six players. While he didn’t name them directly, it’s not too hard to figure out which prospects are in contention. Canadian center Dylan Cozens most certainly is in the mix. The Blackhawks should strongly consider Cozens with the 3rd pick due to his potential to become a dominant power forward.
Cozens’ Size & Speed
Dylan Cozens has been considered as a top prospect by scouts for a couple of years now. The best aspect of Cozens’ game is his ability to play at such a fast pace. At 6’3″, he is a rare combination of size and speed. Most of the dangerous scoring opportunities that he creates come off of the rush. Here’s one example of Cozens utilizing his speed to create a scoring chance during the U18 Men’s World Championship.
Cozens enters the zone with ease because of his game-changing speed. He then uses his large frame to shield off defenders to get to the prime real estate. The Whitehorse, Yukon native makes this coast-to-coast play look remarkably routine.
Another strong area of Cozens’ game is his physicality. He isn’t necessarily a physical force, but he isn’t afraid to use his size by any means. Cozens is at his best when he’s using his size to compliment his speed. He frequently finds a way to drive the puck to the net and challenge smaller defensemen. The 18-year-old forward is surprisingly strong on his skates for such a skinny kid. If Cozens can gain some weight, he has the potential to be a dangerous NHL power forward one day.
Cozens’ Past Production
Dylan Cozens has played the last 2+ seasons for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL. During his first regular season with Lethbridge, Cozens recorded 53 points (22G, 31A) in 57 games. He refined his offensive skills and responded with 84 points (34G, 50A) in 67 games this past season. Cozens was also impressive at the U18 World Junior Championship for Canada, recording four goals and five assists in seven games.
While Dylan Cozens’ offensive production has been good, it hasn’t been ‘3rd overall pick in the NHL Draft’ good. The numbers don’t jump off the page like they do with Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko. He’s never been considered as a highly-skilled player, but he possesses above-average offensive abilities. Cozens can be a dangerous playmaker when he’s on the move. A lot of his offense comes while he’s moving with the puck in transition. Here’s a quick look at Dylan Cozens using his skillset to split two defenders and score a goal.
The Canadian forward is more than capable of becoming a legitimate point producer in the NHL. Cozens doesn’t have the best hands or vision of the draft, but he has top-tier speed to go along with a 6’3″ frame.
Is Dylan Cozens The Pick?
The Chicago Blackhawks are currently in desperation for some size up front. They are also in need of a right-handed forward, as Alex DeBrincat and John Hayden are the only current righties under contract. Dylan Cozens fills both of those holes. Cozens also played center for most of his time in the WHL, which likely enticed the ‘Hawks as well. There is some question whether or not Cozens will be moved to the wing, but most scouts agree he looks more comfortable down the middle. Interestingly enough, r
All in all, Dylan Cozens has the components to be a game-changing player in the NHL. He has the potential to become a 200-foot center that can be trusted in all facets of the game. Cozens is a combination of size, speed, and strength that reminds Blackhawks fans of a young Jonathan Toews. He’s a solid all-around player that hopes to make the NHL this upcoming season. Although, one more year of development wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
If the Chicago Blackhawks want to draft a center with the 3rd overall pick, Dylan Cozens certainly isn’t a bad option.
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