Sabres MVP leads the Top 24 and under rankings following a turbulent season

A few of the Buffalo Sabres four best players in the Top 24 and under rankings could be cornerstones of what is still a young team for 2024-25.
Ottawa Senators v Buffalo Sabres
Ottawa Senators v Buffalo Sabres / Kevin Hoffman/GettyImages
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3 - Dylan Cozens, C/Sabres

Dylan Cozens had an off-year, and you can make the case for dropping him to Tier III. But Cozens still grew into his game even if his points total dropped from 68 to just 47. His average time on ice skyrocketed to 17:14, which is by far a career-high. He landed 108 body checks, and his on-ice save percentage hit new highs at even strength and 5-on-5. 

Overall, Cozens showed us he could be a quality piece on the checking line should he prove not to be a major scorer. I bring this up because he has only enjoyed one good season scoring goals, and that was 2022-23. But when you look at his numbers in 2021-22, and this past year, they were good for a depth scorer, and perhaps that’s ultimately his niche in the NHL. 

It will be an interesting camp and preseason for Cozens since if someone like Matt Savoie, Noah Ostlund, or Jiri Kulich - depending on if they are ultimately centers at the NHL level and aren’t packaged into a trade - prove to work better in the top-six, who knows what the lineup projection will look like next season?

But we also know how well Cozens has worked with Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka. Either way, Cozens will fit and provide at least a serviceable, if not a remarkable job, for the Blue and Gold next season, regardless of where he lands in the lineup.