As the 2019 NHL Entry Draft approaches, the Los Angeles Kings have their work cut out for them, including making decisions on two first-round picks: the fifth pick and the 22nd pick, thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs. From now until the draft, the staff of Jewels from the Crown will be taking a look at some draft-eligible players to help introduce some young men who could very possibly be future Kings.
“With the fifth pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Los Angeles Kings select, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL, Dylan Cozens.”
As the mock drafts by hockey pundits mount, it looks more and more like Dylan Cozens will be nabbed by the Kings at number five. I mean, who doesn’t need a 6-foot-3 playmaking center who many say will be the next Jonathan Toews? If this is the case, the Kings will be this much closer to being good again as they travel further into their Reset Plan. But, before we get into the strengths and weaknesses, let’s get the basics out of the way…
HOCKEY CARD STATS
Born: February 9, 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Whitehorse, Yukon, CAN
Weight: 181 lbs.
2018-19 Season: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Regular Season: 68 Games, 84 Points (34G, 50A), 30 PIM
Playoffs: 7 Games, 8 Points (4G, 4A), 2 PIM
#5—NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (North American Skaters)
Cozens is a pure goal scorer aided by his excellent top-end speed with a superior first step. He would be a good fit in Todd McLellan’s “accountability system” as his 200-foot game is among the best in this draft class. His agility is outstanding and he is able to make quick cuts and quickly change directions, which makes him exceptionally problematic for defenders. Cozens sees the ice extremely well and his hockey IQ is the talk of the WHL. He is an outstanding power play quarterback on the half boards and a demon when battling for loose pucks in the corners and along the boards. He is a Selke-caliber center which will also play well in the Kings’ war room when the number five pick hits the clock.
Cozens’s strength needs immediate improvement. At just 18, he has adequate time to fill his lanky frame. What hasn’t slowed his development, at the NHL level, his 180 pounds won’t be enough. He must find a way to add muscle without sacrificing speed. The added bulk will make him harder to knock off the puck and complete his evolution into an all-around force to be reckoned with. In other words, if this is his sole weakness, the Kings might have the steal of the draft in Cozens come June 21st.
“Cozens remains a top-end prospect and will battle for the right to be the second center off of the board behind Jack Hughes. The Yukon-native brings good size, speed, awareness and a complete offensive toolkit. He’s a budding fantasy asset that poolies should be well aware of.” —Cam Robinson/Dobber
WHY THE KINGS SHOULD TAKE A CHANCE
Although Cozens is not projected to be a first line center for while—and that’s okay because the Kings already have one of those—Cozens has the perfect recipe of skills to carry a top-six line offensively. His puck protection and vision instantly make his linemates better and that will translate into ice time quickly at the NHL level.