Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens earned himself a seven-year extension in 2022-23 and will play in the Queen City for quite some time.
Dylan Cozens played in 81 games last year and put up 68 points, 31 goals, and 37 assists, besting his career-high of 38 points the season prior. And he wasn’t just playing solid offense; Cozens also landed 55 hits and 36 takeaways, showing signs that he can become another dynamic power forward for this Buffalo Sabres team.
His faceoff win percentage, FOW% is yet another stat that jumped out, sitting at 48.3%. No, it’s not a great statistic by any means, but if he shows improvement in the category, don’t be surprised when Cozens routinely becomes the go-to when the Blue and Gold need to win a faceoff in their own zone this season during those close contests.
What will Dylan Cozens do for the Buffalo Sabres in 2023-24?
Cozens will start the year without one of his linemates in Jack Quinn, but the Workhorse from Whitehorse will make more than the best out of a bad situation. Whoever lines up at right wing will perform well, due in part because of Cozen’s presence, and you can expect fast chemistry.
I can also see Cozens, like linemate J.J. Peterka, scoring more this season thanks to the uptick in chemistry between the two now that they have a year’s worth of experience on the same line. This will likely cause less overall scoring from the top line comprising Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson, and Alex Tuch, but you will see the five forwards, and perhaps even Casey Mittelstadt (if he indeed subs for Quinn) score a closer range of points.
You can also expect Cozens’ defense to improve in both physicality and in creating turnovers. While he likely won’t hit the same amount of takeaways as Alex Tuch, Cozens should creep toward and perhaps even exceed the 40-plus mark, a reasonable improvement. Cozens saw an increase in 20 hits between 2021-22 and 2022-23, so laying 70 body checks this season is not out of the question.
I’m also looking for more scoring chances from Cozens and his line this season, meaning both his Corsi and Fenwick For% will also exceed 50% at even strength and 5-on-5, something that hovered between 48.7% and 49.4% last season. Overall, you will see steady improvement from one of the NHL’s fastest rising centers.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)