Dylan Cozens broke out last season and he is a fast-rising star for the Buffalo Sabres. And he will become even more well-rounded in 2023-24.
Last month, our contributor, Zach, made a bold prediction on Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, stating that he will score 40-plus goals. And with Jack Quinn missing time, which will likely make way for a dynamic passer in Casey Mittelstadt to take the initial reps at right wing on the second line, Cozens (and linemate J.J. Peterka) could be scoring a lot in the season’s early going.
Despite the potential for Cozens to put up a substantial number of goals and points in 2023-24, it might not be the only category he excels in this season. In my Player Outlook piece regarding Cozens, I stated that he could become a go-to in winning faceoffs this season for the Sabres since it was something general manager Kevyn Adams didn’t address this offseason.
Someone needs to step up, and win over 50% of the draws, and Cozens is the likeliest candidate on the team to win them. But in this bold predictions piece, I’m giving him a floor of 52.5%, a 4.2% increase over what he gave us this past season.
Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens will become the lead man at faceoffs
Between 2021-22 and 2022-23, Cozens’ faceoff win percentage (FOW%) increased by 2.7%. Now that he’s a seasoned veteran with the game slowing down for him, look for Cozens’ numbers to improve in categories like FOW%. And while 52.5% doesn’t seem like a lot, I’m still calling this a bold prediction for one reason: This stat will steadily improve as the year rolls on.
This means I’m looking for Cozens to become one of the go-tos to win faceoffs in the defensive zone during close contests. And I’m also expecting him to do the same thing when on the penalty kill late in games.
Since Cozens had the highest FOW% last season among Buffalo Sabres players that took at least 200 faceoffs, he will get the nod, and by the end of the year, the Blue and Gold will have solved this issue. So, look for Cozens to shine in the goal-scoring realm – but he will further raise his value in high-pressure situations as 2023-24 progresses.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)