Dylan Cozens made history June 21 when he was selected seventh overall by the Buffalo Sabres at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Cozens is the first player born and raised in the Yukon to be selected in the first round of the draft, but told media the pressure didn’t bother him.
“I’m just so proud to represent the Yukon and I’m so happy to be from there,” Cozens said. “There is definitely pressure. Just so many people that are talking about it and watching me, and so many people want me to succeed — I didn’t want to let them down. Now that it’s here and the draft has happened, I’m so excited.”
Cozens joins an organization that has the longest active post-season appearance drought — the Sabres last made the playoffs following the 2010-11 season — but he joins a talented nucleus of players headlined by star Jack Eichel, recently re-signed Jeff Skinner and last year’s number one pick Rasmus Dahlin.
Buffalo finished last season sixth in the Atlantic Division with 76 points, nestled between the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers.
Although the first to be selected in the first round, Cozens isn’t the first Yukoner to be selected in the draft.
Gerard Dicaire, born in Faro, was selected in both the fifth round of the 2002 draft and the second round of the 2000 draft; Bobby House, born in Whitehorse, was selected in the third round of the 1991 draft; Peter Sturgeon, born in Whitehorse, was selected in the second round of the 1974 draft and Jarett Deuling, born in Vernon, B.C., but raised in Whitehorse, was selected in the third round of the 1992 draft.
Cozens finished the WHL regular season tied for 10th in league scoring with 84 points — 34 goals and 50 assists — in 68 games and added another eight points in seven playoff games. In his WHL career to date, Cozens has 138 points in 128 regular-season games.
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