Whitehorse Daily Star

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WORKHORSE FROM WHITEHORSE – Dylan Cozens, left, follows through on a shot against Columbus in Nov. 2021. Cozens registered a goal and an assist in the game and finished with a plus-minus of +2. He finished fifth in team scoring this year. Photo courtesy of BUFFALO SABRES/BILL WIPPERT

Cozens’ season ‘not bad at all, just down a little bit from the previous year’

Followers of NHL hockey in Yukon could be interested in how our homegrown product, Dylan Cozens, did over the past year.

By Submitted on May 1, 2024

Followers of NHL hockey in Yukon could be interested in how our homegrown product, Dylan Cozens, did over the past year.

The answer is “Not too bad in all, but just down a little bit from the previous year”. He scored 18 goals and 29 assists (47 points in all) in 79 of the 82 games he played for the Buffalo Sabres during the 2023-24 hockey season. Last year in the 2022-23 season, he scored 31 goals with 37 assists. This past season, his 47 points were good enough for fifth place in team scoring and his 29 assists were good enough for third place on the team.

In February of 2023, Dylan made some sort of Yukon history by signing a long-term contract with the Buffalo Sabres for seven seasons for a stunning $49.7 million dollars ($7.1 million per year).

This contract will take him through to the 2030-31 hockey season and is a certain indicator of how well he is thought of by Buffalo management. He is only 23 years old and has played 3.5 seasons for Buffalo. Over that period of time, he has scored 66 goals and 100 assists for his team. Prior to starting with Buffalo, he played four seasons for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League.

Alas, however, the team did not make the playoffs again. They missed this year by seven points. Last year they missed by only one point to the Florida Panthers, who eventually went on to the Stanley Cup finals before losing to last years’ Cup winners, the Vegas Golden Knights.

This is now the thirteenth consecutive year that Buffalo has not made the NHL playoffs. This is indeed disappointing for their fans but they can rest assured that the “rebuilding” program is still going full stream.

Just witness Dylan’s seven-year contract signing. Not making the playoffs again cost the past year’s coach his job. Head coach Don Granato was released from his job on April 16, just one day after the season finished. Veteran NHL coach Lindy Ruff has been named as his replacement.

There is no question in the minds of any Yukon resident who follows NHL hockey that Dylan Cozens is the most successful player ever to hit the NHL from Yukon Territory. We can only hope that he gets home some time in the off-season for some well-deserved relaxation and fishing. His parents are still residents of Whitehorse.

– Jim McLachlan is a former Yukon Liberal MLA who now divides his time between Faro and Alberta.

By Jim McLachlan

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