Sabres sign Dylan Cozens to seven-year contract extension
The Buffalo Sabres gave center Dylan Cozens a phenomenal early birthday present.
Cozens, who will turn 22 on Thursday, signed a seven-year contract extension on Tuesday worth $49.7 million ($7.1 million AAV).
Cozens is enjoying a career-best season in 2022-23, recording 17 goals and 43 points in 49 games. Those numbers have already eclipsed his high-water marks set last season.
While his combination of speed and skill is what ultimately led to the big payday, the intangibles and work ethic he brings to the table have not gone unnoticed.
"I keep saying the same thing about him, it's compete," Sabres coach Don Granato said of Cozens in December. "Just couple that with love of the game that he has, the love of the game hockey. He competes for the right reason being in a team sport. He brings guys in with him, he drags people into the fight, per se, which is a real indicator of his leadership and leadership ability going forward.
"There's so many things, so many elements for Dylan. … We can assess his skill set, and I guess that's somewhat simple and getting better by the day. But it's the intangibles that separate him."
The native of the Yukon was selected seventh overall by the Sabres in the 2019 draft and made his NHL debut during the 2020-21 season. He played his junior hockey with the WHL's Lethbridge Hurricanes.
With Cozens signed long-term, Buffalo has now locked up three members of its core on seven-year contracts in the past six months, all of whom are under the age of 26. Tage Thompson inked a $50-million deal in August, while Mattias Samuelsson signed for $30 million in October.
Buffalo currently finds itself on the bubble of the Eastern Conference playoff race with 56 points through 50 games. The team is just one point back of the final wild-card spot.
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