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REPRESENTING CANADA – Dylan Cozens, of Whitehorse, is on the Team Canada roster for the prestigious Hlinka Gretzky Cup beginning next week. Photo courtesy ROBERT MURRAY/WHL

TSN analyst says Cozens could go second in the NHL draft

Dylan Cozens will be representing Canada at the prestigious Hlinka Gretzky Cup international tournament that begins Monday in Edmonton and Red Deer.

By Chuck Tobin on August 3, 2018

Dylan Cozens will be representing Canada at the prestigious Hlinka Gretzky Cup international tournament that begins Monday in Edmonton and Red Deer.

The team’s 20-man roster was released Thursday following a selection camp.

This past season in his first year as a Major Junior A forward, Cozens scored 22 goals and recorded 30 assists for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, finishing as the second-highest scoring rookie in the Western Hockey League. He was named the WHL’s Rookie of the Year at the annual awards banquet in early May.

In a recent video, TSN analyst Craig Button – a former GM of the Calgary Flames – says it’s his view that the Whitehorse born and raised 17-year-old is likely to go as high as number two in the 2019 NHL draft next June.

In Button’s eyes, only Jack Hughes of the U.S. will go higher. His brother Quinn Hughes was selected seventh overall in June by the Vancouver Canucks.

Button praises Cozens as a highly skilled 6’3”, 177-pound right winger who excels in skating, puck handling, shooting and play making.

“You are going to be hearing a lot about this 17-year-old during the Hlinka Gretzky Cup,” the TSN analyst said on his video about players to watch, even before the final roster was released.

Whitehorse resident Bob Unger is a former Major Junior A scout for the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL.

It was Unger who helped direct Whitehorse youth Jarrett Deuling to Kamloops, B.C., where he was picked up by the Blazers and went on to win two Memorial Cups with the club – one of those years as captain of the team 1994.

Dueling was drafted 56th overall by the New York Islanders in 1992. Though Deuling never cracked the Islanders full-time roster, he was called up for 15 games.

Unger said in an interview Thursday the Hlinka Gretzky Cup will feature all the top Under-18-year-olds, not only from Canada but from the entire hockey world.

“These are the kids that are going to be eligible for next year’s NHL draft,” Unger said. “A large portion of the players on those teams will be drafted into the NHL next year, especially from Canada, U.S., Finland and Sweden.”

Canada is scheduled to play a pre-tournament exhibition game Saturday against the Czech Republic. It’s first regular scheduled game is Monday in Edmonton against Switzerland.

Unger said as far as he knows, Deuling was the only other Yukoner to represent Canada at an international tournament of Under-18-year-olds. It was something of a precursor to the Hlinka Gretzky Cup back then, and one of Deuling’s linemates was Paul Kariya, the former NHL goal scorer and all-star who went fourth overall in the 1993 NHL draft.

Comments (1)

Up 2 Down 0

BB on Aug 10, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Smart, athletic and hardworking. Dylan has put everything into this and it's no accident that things are working out. Congratulations and stay safe!

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