2 – Tyson Kozak, F
I was reading Jacob D. Strozyk of The Hockey Writers’ Top Ten Prospects for 2023-24 piece, and I saw that they listed Tyson Kozak at #6 on their list. Yeah, finally someone who sees Kozak’s value in the same way myself, and many fans who have watched the Rochester Americans.
I’ve even listed Kozak as my dark horse to sneak his way into the Buffalo Sabres lineup at least for a portion of the season in my latest projection. While he’s realistically facing an uphill climb, Kozak’s ability to play a solid defensive role at forward is often overlooked, thanks to the 10 points he scored in 55 regular season games in Rochester.
Pay close attention to Kozak this season, especially in camp, and you will see those defensive abilities shine. Whether he remains in the AHL or if he sneaks his way into the lineup as the fourth line center is still to be seen – likely returning to the AHL – but his role as a defensive forward will be fun to watch.