BUFFALO, N.Y. (June 22, 2019) — The Buffalo Sabres selected forward Dylan Cozens and defenseman Ryan Johnson in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft.
Taken with the No. 7 overall pick, Cozens (6’3”, 183 lbs., 2/9/2001) finished tied for 10th in WHL scoring with 84 points (34+50) in 68 games for the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2018-19. In his second full WHL season, Cozens finished among the league’s leaders in even-strength assists (10th, 34) and even-strength points (T-8th, 59) before adding eight points (4+4) in seven playoff contests.
As a rookie in 2017-18, Cozens won the Jim Piggott Trophy as the WHL’s rookie of the year after he led all first-year skaters in goals (22) and finished second among rookies with 53 points. The forward has recorded 138 points (57+81) and a plus-26 rating in 128 career WHL games, adding 29 points (14+15) in 35 playoff games.
A native of Whitehorse, Yukon, Cozens represented his country twice during the 2018-19 season. He was a member of the Canadian team that captured the gold medal at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and later served as an alternate captain for Team Canada at the 2019 IIHF World U18 Championship, where he finished the tournament tied for seventh in scoring with nine points (4+5) in seven games.
The first player born in the Yukon to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft, Cozens also suited up for Team Canada Red at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and won a silver medal after tying for fifth in tournament scoring with seven points (1+6) in six games.
With the team’s second pick of the night, Buffalo selected Johnson (6’0”, 170 lbs., 7/24/2001) at No. 31 overall. In 54 games for the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) in 2018-19, he recorded 25 points (6+19) and a plus-24 rating, both of which were good for second among rookie defensemen.
Johnson followed his regular-season performance with eight points (2+6) in 12 playoff games to help lead the Stampede to a Clark Cup victory as the USHL’s champions. The defenseman was named to the USHL All-Rookie First Team following the 2018-19 campaign.
The Irvine, California native made his first international appearance last season, serving as a member of the United States team that won the 2018 World Jr. A Challenge in December.