The 2019 National Hockey League Entry Draft is quickly approaching with it’s first round scheduled for Friday night (June 21st) at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC while Rounds 2 to 7 will take place on Saturday (June 22nd).
The 2019 edition of the NHL Draft will surely be a historic one for the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Current ‘Canes player Dylan Cozens is primed to make history and will, in all certainty, be the highest drafted Hurricanes player in the organization’s 32-year history in Lethbridge.
Currently, both Brent Seabrook and Zach Boychuk share the honour of highest drafted ‘Canes player as they were both drafted 14th overall – Seabrook by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2003 and Boychuk by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2008. The highest ever NHL selected player to suit up for the Hurricanes was defenseman Chris Phillips who, when he was a member of the Prince Albert Raiders, was drafted first overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
It is somewhat ironic that Cozens is on the verge of making Hurricanes history in the City of Vancouver, considering his background. As many know, Cozens was born-and-raised in Whitehorse, Yukon – which will be yet another piece of history as he is slated to become the first ever Yukon-born player drafted in the first round of the NHL Draft.
However, at the tender age of 14-years-old, Cozens and his family elected to move him from Whitehorse to Vancouver to play hockey at a higher level with hopes of becoming a full-time hockey player one day down the road. After one season with the Delta Hockey Academy where he collected 31 points (19g-12a) in 25 games, Cozens was selected by the Hurricanes 19th overall in the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft in 2016 becoming the first Yukon-born player selected in the first round of the WHL Draft.
In the year after his bantam draft selection, Cozens remained in Vancouver at the Yale Hockey Academy where he had an impressive midget season scoring a whopping 57 points (27g-30a) in just 30 games before he was called up to the Hurricanes as a 15-year-old and he has never looked back.
Since joining the Hurricanes in the midst of a 2017 WHL Playoff run that saw them go to the Eastern Conference Final, Cozens has been an impact player. During that post-season as an underage player, the centreman recorded eight points (3g-5a) in 12 games.
In his first official season in the WHL, Cozens was electric. He recorded 53 points (22g-31a) in 57 games in his rookie campaign while adding another 13 points (7g-6a) in 16 playoff games once against helping the Hurricanes to the Eastern Conference Final. For his efforts in his first season, Cozens was named the Jim Piggott Award winner as the WHL Rookie of the Year Award winner joining Wes Walz as the only two players in Hurricanes franchise history to be bestowed that honour.
In his two seasons with the Hurricanes, Cozens has produced at an impressive rate of over a point-per-game. In 128 regular season games with the ‘Canes, Cozens has collected 138 points (57g-81a) along with 50 penalty minutes and a plus-26 rating. He had a career-high 89 points in 2018-2019 eclipsing the 30-goal and 80-point mark for the first time. Cozens has also appeared in 35 career WHL post-season games where he has totaled 29 points (14g-15a) along with 16 penalty minutes.
In addition to his play with the Hurricanes, Cozens has also represented Canada at the Under-17 and Under-18 levels, highlighted by capturing the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Edmonton last August.
In the 32-year history of the Hurricanes, only five players have been drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft while playing for the Hurricanes:
1990 – Mark Greig, 15th overall, Hartford Whalers
2003 – Brent Seabrook, 14th overall, Chicago Blackhawks
2008 – Zach Boychuk, 14th overall, Carolina Hurricanes
2008 – Luca Sbisa, 17th overall, Philadelphia Flyers
2009 – Carter Ashton, 29th overall, Tampa Bay Lightning
While it’s been a decade since a ‘Cane went in the first round, that drought will be over on Friday. Cozens is a consensus Top-10 NHL Draft pick with TSN’s Bob McKenzie selecting Cozens to go sixth overall in his final pre-draft rankings while ISS Hockey and NHL Central Scouting both have him at number five.
The order of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft’s Top 10 selections is:
#1 – New Jersey Devils
#2 – New York Rangers
#3 – Chicago Blackhawks
#4 – Colorado Avalanche (from Ottawa Senators)
#5 – Los Angeles Kings
#6 – Detroit Red Wings
#7 – Buffalo Sabres
#8 – Edmonton Oilers
#9 – Anaheim Ducks
#10 – Vancouver Canucks
The Draft will be aired in Canada on Rogers Sportsnet on Friday, June 21st.