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Entry Draft Options: Dylan Cozens

My preferred pick if the Ducks miss out on Kakko or Hughes

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Lethbridge Hurricanes v Calgary Hitmen Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

I have loved the bio for this kid ever since I first started writing the first 2019 Entry Draft preview. He screams everything Bob looks for in a draftee with a huge dash of speed. I could go on but I will probably just end up repeating everything I said about him in my February preview so here it is.

Described as a high-octane power forward, Cozens was named rookie of the year last season and has followed that up with fifty-six points in forty games thus far for Lethbridge. His skating is perhaps his greatest asset, combining speed, acceleration and balance to power a game that forces opposing teams defenders to back up. He likes to dictate the play and can stick handle at speed to create plays, but is also just as adept at receiving passes on the rush or give and gos. Potential misgivings about him is an overly physical game that can sometimes take him out of the play, which makes him a textbox Bob Murray pick. He is also a perfect all-rounder, providing good results on both the power play and the penalty kill, using his excellent skating and pivots to pressure opposing teams’ man-advantage units. He is currently slated as the fifth selection so the Ducks will either have to finish near the lottery this year (not impossible the way things have gone lately) or hope that he drops off the back of some teams doubting his offensive upside.

Dylan Cozens

Position: Center/RW

Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes - WHL

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 185lb (84kg)

Age: 18 (DOB Feb 9, 2001 - Whitehorse, Yukon)

Cozens finished the year with 84 points in 68 games, 1.24 points per game and 11th overall in the WHL. His Lethbridge Hurricanes are up two games to one over the Calgary Hitmen in the first round of their playoff run and he has 2 points in 2 games played (as of writing this).

After Hughes and Kakko, the drop-off in talent isn't exactly 2005 draft huge, but it is substantial. Podkolzin sits on half of scouts lists as the definitive number three overall but the other half have Cozens.

Wheeler had this exact same internal debate and his reasoning for placing him as the consolation prize after Hughes and Kakko can be summed up as follows:

When he’s at his best, he has everything. He’s big, he can make plays off the rush because he’s a strong skater for his size, he can dictate an offensive zone shift with his puck protection skill off the cycle and he has excellent hands for a player of his size (which allows him to both escape traffic and finish plays around the crease). Once he sorts out some inconsistency issues offensively, he’s got a freakishly high ceiling. His two-way ability will quickly endear him to pro coaches, enabling that skill to take over because of the trust he will earn. - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic.

Pronman succinctly states that he ranks him as one of the best skaters in the draft, and that he “has a high level of skill, intelligence and compete in his game” that can be “deployed in any situation and competes hard every shift”.

It’s these two reviews alone that have me so high on him and why I also feel that Bob would not pass him over were he given the chance to select him (after Kakko and Hughes of course).