SABRES GO BIG WITH COZENS

BILL HOPPE/CONTRIBUTORWith the seventh pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Buffalo Sabres on Friday selected 6-3 forward Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge, WHL). 

VANCOUVER —On Friday, the Buffalo Sabres selected Dylan Cozens seventh overall at the NHL Draft.

Cozens grew up in Whitehorse, Yukon, a city of about 25,000 in the northwestern Canadian territory.

Cozens is a high-scoring center with the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes became the highest-drafted player ever out of Yukon.

Only three NHL players have ever hailed from the Yukon. No one had ever been drafted so high.

The 6-foot-3, 183-pound Cozens could be an NHL-ready prospect. He compiled 34 goals and 84 points in 68 games with Lethbridge last season.

Cozens can play center and the wing. He’s open to playing either position. He is the first player from the junior Canadian Hockey League Jason Botterill selected in his three drafts as Sabres general manager.

Sabres fans will get their first glimpse of Cozens in Blue and Gold next week at the team’s development camp in Harborcenter.

The New Jersey Devils selected American center Jack Hughes with the first pick in the NHL draft Friday night.

From Orlando, Florida, Hughes is the eighth American selected No. 1, and first since 2016, when the Toronto Maple Leafs chose Auston Matthews.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound play-making center was the NHL Central Scouting Bureau's top-ranked North American prospect. Hughes was chosen ahead of Finland's Kaapo Kakko, who was the top-ranked European prospect.

Hughes had 74 goals and 154 assists to set the USA Hockey National Team Development Program's two-year record with 228 points in 110 games.

The Rangers followed by selecting Kakko. He's a 6-foot-2 winger, who helped Finland complete an international gold-medal sweep at the world championships, world juniors and Under-18 tournament. He had 22 goals the Finnish Elite League, the most by a draft-eligible player.

The Chicago Blackhawks, who jumped from 12th in the order to third following the draft lottery, went with size in selecting 6-foot-4 center Kirby Dach out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic, who grew up in suburban Vancouver, received a big cheer from the crowd before announcing the fourth pick. He then drew an even louder cheer after selecting defenseman Bowen Byram, who played for Vancouver of the Western Hockey League.

Los Angeles rounded out the top five by selecting American center Alex Turcotte.