2021 NHL Draft Tracker: Round 1 picks, notes; Results for Rounds 2-7

2021 NHL Draft Tracker: Round 1 picks, notes
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The 2021 NHL Draft began as expected: with the Sabres selecting Owen Power first overall. From there, we saw surprises, including one that required a team statement.

With Round 1 complete on Friday, follow along on PHT for results from Rounds 2-7.

2021 NHL Draft

Round 1

1. Buffalo Sabres — Owen Power, D, Michigan (NCAA)

“In truth, he is a unique player, combining amazing size, strong skating, a big shot, great vision, the ability (if not necessarily the proclivity) to play a dominating physical game.” Ryan Wagman, McKeen’s Hockey

Read more about the Sabres selecting Power first overall here.

2. Seattle Kraken — Matthew Beniers, C, Michigan (NCAA)

It’s probably not fair to compare Beniers to Ron Francis, the Kraken GM who drafted him. That will be tough to avoid, though, because Beniers brings the sort of two-way game that’s expected to translate smoothly to the NHL.

Want more on Beniers, and the Kraken making their first-ever draft pick at No. 2? Click here.

3. Anaheim Ducks — Mason McTavish, C, Peterborough (OHL)

“The Ducks desperately need offensive players, and in McTavish they get high-end skill blended with size and strength through the middle. And McTavish was an impact player during his time in the Swiss League, playing with and against older, more physically developed competition.” NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman.

4. New Jersey Devils — Luke Hughes, D, USA U-18 (USNTDP)

Doesn’t get much better than keeping brothers together, does it? Jack Hughes certainly looked elated that the Devils drafted Luke Hughes fourth overall, that’s for sure.

5. Columbus Blue Jackets — Kent Johnson, C, Michigan (NCAA)

“His puck skills are sublime, even if he needs to simplify his game to manage his risk taking better.” Ryan Wagman, McKeen’s Hockey

6. Detroit Red Wings — Simon Edvinsson, D, Frolunda (SHL)

Edvinsson ranks as one of the 2021 NHL Draft’s most interesting prospects, as he was projected to fall in many spots. No doubt, size is a big selling point for the big Swedish defenseman.

” (Edvinsson) … combines incredible skating and puck skills in a supersized frame, a talent the likes of which this team has nothing like. He is raw, and likely needs at least two more years of development, but the upside is a star,” Ryan Wagman, McKeen’s Hockey

7. San Jose Sharks — William Eklund, LW, Djurgarden (SHL)

People started to clamor for Eklund pretty quickly.

Well, the fall didn’t last too long? Depends upon who you ask, perhaps. (Ryan Wagman mock-drafted Eklund at seven.)

8. Los Angeles Kings – Brandt Clarke, D, Barrie (OHL)

” … In a sentence, Clarke projects as a second or third defenseman who can be on a top NHL power-play unit but may not be able to face top opponents defensively.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (sub required).

9. Arizona Coyotes (from VAN) — Dylan Guenther, RW, Edmonton (WHL)

” … He becomes a massive component of Arizona’s next rebuild. I see a lot about his game that translates to the pros and you can see him finishing plays from Clayton Keller, Barrett Hayton and Victor Soderstrom for many years, and driving a line with his great two-way play. He was my No. 2 ranked prospect,” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (sub required).

10. Ottawa Senators — Tyler Boucher, RW, USA U-18 (USNTDP)

“In a sentence, Boucher projects as a bottom-six NHL winger who will be one of the most physical players in a game.” Corey Pronman, The Athletic (sub required).

*11. Forfeited pick*

12. Columbus Blue Jackets (from CHI) — Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls (USHL)

“Sillinger stands out for his high-end hockey IQ, excellent vision, playmaking ability, an NHL-ready shot and the ability to control the game with the puck on his stick.” – NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman.

13. Calgary Flames — Matthew Coronato, RW, Chicago (USHL)

“Coronato is a dominant offensive force who blends top-end goal scoring, strong skating and a physical approach, similar to United States Hockey Hall of Fame forward John LeClair. He was nicknamed “Bison” because of the way he goes hard to the net in the offensive zone.” NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman.

14. Buffalo Sabres (from PHI) — Isak Rosen, RW, Leksands IF (SHL)

“Isak Rosen has a full toolshed of high-end offensive elements. Being forced to play in the SHL after the Swedish junior leagues were cancelled didn’t help his stat page, but was a great learning experience, which his seven goals in seven games at the U18s illustrated.”Ryan Wagman, McKeen’s Hockey

15. Detroit Red Wings (from DAL) — Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton (WHL)

Heading into the 2021 NHL Draft, people wondered if as many as two goalies could go in the top 10. There was also debate between Cossa or Jesper Wallstedt as the first goalie to go in the 2021 NHL Draft. Ultimately, the Red Wings traded up to land a big goalie. They’ve been aggressive attempting to improve at net, as Cossa is the prospect to pair with prime-age goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.

16. NY Rangers — Brennan Othmann, LW, Flint (OHL)
17. St. Louis Blues — Zachary Bolduc, C, Rimouski (QMJHL)
18. Winnipeg Jets – Chaz Lucius, C, USA U-18 (USNTDP)
19. Nashville Predators —  Fedor Svechkov, C, Togliatti (VHL) 
20. Minnesota Wild (from EDM) – Jesper Wallstedt, G, Lulea (SHL)

21. Boston Bruins — Fabian Lysell, RW, Lulea (SHL)

22. Edmonton Oilers (from MIN) — Xavier Bourgault, C,  Shawinigan (QMJHL)
23. Dallas Stars (Detroit; WSH) — Wyatt Johnston, C, Windsor (OHL)
24. Florida Panthers — Mackie Samoskevich, RW, Chicago (USHL)
25. Columbus Blue Jackets (from TOR) — Corson Ceulemans, D, Brooks (AJHL)
26. Minnesota Wild (from PIT) — Carson Lambos, D, Winnipeg (WHL)
27. Nashville Predators  (from CAR) — Zachary L’Heureux, LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
28. Colorado Avalanche — Oskar Olausson, RW, HV71 (SHL)
29. New Jersey Devils (from NYI) — Chase Stillman, RW, Sudbury (OHL)
30. Vegas Golden Knights — Zach Dean, C, Gatineau (QMJHL)
31. Montreal Canadiens — Logan Mailloux, D, London (OHL)
32. Chicago Blackhawks (from TBL via CBJ) — Nolan Allan, D, Prince Albert (WHL)

Pick 11 – The NHL directed the forfeiture of this pick in sanctions against the Arizona Coyotes announced Aug. 26, 2020.

Also, here’s the complete 2021 NHL Draft order for rounds 2-7:

Round 2

33. Buffalo Sabres: Prokhor Poltapov, LW, CSKA-2 (MHL)
34. Anaheim Ducks: Olen Zellweger, D, Everett (WHL)
35. Seattle Kraken: Ryker Evans, D, Regina (WHL)
36. Detroit Red Wings: Shai Buium, D, Sioux City (USHL)
37. Arizona Coyotes: Josh Doan, RW, Chicago (USHL)
38. Vegas Golden Knights: Daniil Chayka, D, CSKA (Russia)
39. Ottawa Senators: Zack Ostapchuk, C, Vancouver (WHL)
40. Carolina Hurricanes: Scott Morrow, D, Shattuck St. Mary’s (High MN)
41. Vancouver Canucks: Danila Klimovich, RW, Minsk Zubry (Belarus 2)
42. Los Angeles Kings: Francesco Pinelli, C, Kitchener (OHL)
43. Arizona Coyotes: Ilya Fedotov, LW, Nizhny Novgorod 2 (Russia Jr.)
44. Carolina Hurricanes: Aleksi Heimosalmi, D, Assat Jr. (Finland Jr.)
45. Calgary Flames: William Stromgren, LW, Modo (Sweden 2)
46. Philadelphia Flyers: Samu Tuomaala, RW, Karpat (Finland Jr.)
47. Dallas Stars: Logan Stankoven, C, Kamloops (WHL)
48. Dallas Stars: Artem Grushnikov, D, CSKA-2 (Russia Jr.)
49. Ottawa Senators: Ben Roger, D, London (OHL)
50. Winnipeg Jets: Nikita Chibrikov, RW, St. Petersburg (Russia)
51. Carolina Hurricanes: Ville Koivunen, RW, Karpat Jr. (Finland Jr.)
52. New York Islanders: Aatu Raty, C, Karpat (Finland)
53. Buffalo Sabres: Aleksandr Kisakov, LW, Dynamo Moscow-2 (Russia Jr.)
54. Minnesota Wild: Jack Peart, D, Grand Rapids (High MN)
55. Washington Capitals: Vincent Iorio, D, Brandon (WHL)
56. Florida Panthers: Evan Nause, D, Quebec (QMJHL)
57. Toronto Maple Leafs: Matthew Knies, LW, Tri-City (USHL)
58. Pittsburgh Penguins: Tristan Broz, C, Fargo (USHL)
59. Los Angeles Kings: Samuel Helenius, C, JYP (Finland)
60. Arizona Coyotes: Janis Moser, D, Biel (Switzerland)
61. Colorado Avalanche: Sean Behrens, D, USA U-18 (NTDP)
62. Chicago Blackhawks: Colton Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL)
63. Montreal Canadiens: Riley Kidney, C, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
64. Montreal Canadiens: Oliver Kapanen, C, Kalpa Jr. (Finland Jr.)

Round 3

65. New York Rangers: Jayden Grubbe, C, Red Deer (WHL)
66. Anaheim Ducks: Sasha Pastujov, RW, USA U-18 (NTDP)
67. Seattle Kraken: Ryan Winterton, C, Hamilton (OHL)
68. New Jersey Devils: Samu Salminen, C, Jokerit Jr. (Finland Jr.)
69. Columbus Blue Jackets: Stanislav Svozil, D, Brno (Czech)
70. Detroit Red Wings: Carter Mazur, LW, Tri-City (USHL)
71. St. Louis Blues: Simon Robertsson, RW, Skelleftea (Sweden)
72. Nashville Predators: Anton Olsson, D, Malmo (Sweden)
73. Dallas Stars: Ayrton Martino, LW, Omaha (USHL)
74. Ottawa Senators: Oliver Johansson, LW, Timra (Sweden)
75. New York Rangers: Ryder Korczak, C, Moose Jaw (WHL)
76. Anaheim Ducks: Tyson Hinds, D, Rimouski (QMJHL)
77. Calgary Flames: Cole Huckins, C, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
78. Philadelphia Flyers: Aleksei Kolosov, G, Minsk (Russia)
79. Dallas Stars: Justin Ertel, LW, Summerside (MHL)
80. Washington Capitals: Brent Johnson, D, Sioux Falls (USHL)
81. San Jose Sharks: Benjamin Gaudreau, G, Sarnia (OHL)
82. Winnipeg Jets: Dmitry Kuzmin, D, Molodechno (Belarus)
83. Carolina Hurricanes: Patrik Hamrla, G, Karlovy Vary (Czech)
84. Los Angeles Kings: Kirill Kirsanov, D, St. Petersburg (Russia)
85. Boston Bruins: Brett Harrison, C, Oshawa (OHL)
86. Minnesota Wild: Caedan Bankier, C, Kamloops (WHL)
87. Montreal Canadiens: Dmitri Kostenko, D, Spartak (Russia)
88. Buffalo Sabres: Stiven Sardarian, RW, CSKA-2 (Russia Jr.)
89. Calgary Flames: Cameron Whynot, D, Halifax (QMJHL)
90. Edmonton Oilers – Luca Munzenberger, D, Koln Jr. (Germany)
91. Chicago Blackhawks: Taige Harding, D, Fort McMurray (AJHL)
92. Colorado Avalanche: Andrei Buyalski, C, Dubuque (USHL)
93. New York Islanders: Tristan Lennox, G, Saginaw (OHL)
94. Carolina Hurricanes: Aidan Hreschuk, D, Team USA U18 (NTDP)
95. Buffalo Sabres: Josh Bloom, LW, Saginaw (OHL)
96. Tampa Bay Lightning: Roman Schmidt, D, Team USA U18 (NTDP)

Round 4

97. Buffalo Sabres: Olivier Nadeau, RW, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
98. Anaheim Ducks: Joshua Lopina, C, UMass (H-East)
99. Seattle Kraken: Ville Ottavainen, D, JYP (Finland)
100. New Jersey Devils: Jakub Malek, G, Vsetin (Czech-2)
101. Columbus Blue Jackets: Guillaume Richard, D, Tri-City (USHL)
102. Vegas Golden Knights: Jakub Brabenec, C, Brno (Czech)
103. San Jose Sharks: Gannon Laroque, D, Victoria (WHL)
104. New York Rangers: Brody Lamb, RW, Dodge County (High MN)
105. Chicago Blackhawks: Ethan Del Mastro, D, Mississauga (OHL)
106. New York Rangers: Kalle Vaisanen, LW, TPS (Finland)
107. Arizona Coyotes: Emil Martinsen Lilleberg, D, Oskarshamn (Sweden)
108. Chicago Blackhawks: Victor Stjernborg, C, Vaxjo (Sweden)
109. Carolina Hurricanes: Jackson Blake, RW, Eden Prairie (High MN)
110. Philadelphia Flyers: Brian Zanetti, D, Peterborough (OHL)
111. Dallas Stars: Conner Roulette, LW, Seattle (WHL)
112. New York Rangers: Talyn Boyko, G, Tri-City (WHL)
113. Montreal Canadiens: William Trudeau, D, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
114. Detroit Red Wings: Redmond Savage, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)
115. Nashville Predators: Ryan Ufko, D, Chicago (USHL)
116. Edmonton Oilers: Jake Chiasson, C, Brandon (WHL)
117. Boston Bruins: Philip Svedeback, G, Vaxjo Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
118. Minnesota Wild: Kyle Masters, D, Red Deer (WHL)
119. Washington Capitals: Joaquim Lemay, D, Salmon Arm (BCHL)
120. Florida Panthers: Vladislav Lukashevich, D, Yaroslavl 2 (Russia Jr.)
121. San Jose Sharks: Ethan Cardwell, RW, Barrie (OHL)
122. Arizona Coyotes: Rasmus Korhonen, G, Assat (Finland)
123. Ottawa Senators: Carson Latimer, RW, Edmonton (WHL)
124. Nashville Predators: Jack Matier, D, Ottawa (OHL)
125. New York Islanders: Cameron Berg, C, Muskegon (USHL)
126. Tampa Bay Lightning: Dylan Duke, LW, US U-18 (NTDP)
127. Minnesota Wild: Josh Pillar, C, Kamloops (WHL)
128. Vegas Golden Knights: Jakub Demek, C, Edmonton (OHL)

Round 5

129. New Jersey Devils: Topias Vilen, D, Pelicans (Finland)
130. Anaheim Ducks: Sean Tschigerl, LW, Calgary (WHL)
131. Seattle Kraken: Jacob Melanson, RW, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
132. Columbus Blue Jackets: Nikolai Makarov, D, CSKA-2 (Russia Jr.)
133. Columbus Blue Jackets: James Malatesta, LW, Quebec (QMJHL)
134. Detroit Red Wings: Liam Dower Nilsson, C, Frolunda Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
135. San Jose Sharks: Artem Guryev, D, Lindsay (OJHL)
136. Carolina Hurricanes: Robert Orr, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
137. Vancouver Canucks: Aku Koskenvuo, G, HIFK Jr. (Finland Jr.)
138. Dallas Stars: Jack Bar, D, Chicago (USHL)
139. Arizona Coyotes: Manix Landry, C, Gatineau (QMJHL)
140. Vancouver Canucks: Jonathan Myrenberg, D, Linkoping Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
141. Calgary Flames: Cole Jordan, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
142. Montreal Canadiens: Daniil Sobolev, D, Spartak 2 (Russia Jr.)
143. Dallas Stars: Jacob Holmes, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
144. New York Rangers: Jaroslav Chmelar, RW, Jokerit Jr. (Finland Jr.)
145. St. Louis Blues: Tyson Galloway, D, Calgary (WHL)
146. Winnipeg Jets: Dmitri Rashevsky, RW, Krasnogorsk (Russia Jr.)
147. Carolina Hurricanes: Justin Robidas, C, Val-D’Or (QMJHL)
148. Anaheim Ducks: Gage Alexander, G, Winnipeg (WHL)
149. Boston Bruins: Oskar Jellvik, LW, Djurgarden Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
150. Montreal Canadiens: Joshua Roy, RW, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
151. Washington Capitals: Haakon Hanelt, C, Eisbaren Berlin (Germany)
152. Florida Panthers: Kirill Gerasimyuk, G, SKA-Varyagi (Russia Jr.)
153. Toronto Maple Leafs: Ty Voit, LW, Gatineau (QMJHL)
154. Pittsburgh Penguins: Isaac Beliveau, D, Gatineau (QMJHL)
155. Detroit Red Wings: Oscar Plandowski, D, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
156. San Jose Sharks: Max McCue, C, London (OHL)
157. New York Islanders: Eetu Liukas, LW, TPS (Finland)
158. Philadelphia Flyers: Ty Murchison, US U-18 (NTDP)
159. Buffalo Sabres: Viljami Marjala, LW, Quebec (QMJHL)
160. Tampa Bay Lightning: Cameron Macdonald, C, Saint John (QMJHL)

Round 6

161. Buffalo Sabres: William Von Barnekow Lofberg, C, Malmo (Sweden)
162. Anaheim Ducks: Kyle Kukkonen, C, Maple Grove (High MN)
163. Seattle Kraken: Semyon Vyazovoi, G, UFA-2 (Russia Jr.)
164. New Jersey Devils: Viktor Hurtig, D, Vasteras Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
165. Columbus Blue Jackets: Ben Boyd, LW, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
166. Detroit Red Wings: Pasquale Zito, LW, Windsor (OHL)
167. San Jose Sharks: Liam Gilmartin, LW, London (OHL)
168. Calgary Flames: Jack Beck, RW, Ottawa (OHL)
169. Vancouver Canucks: Hugo Gabrielson, D, Vastervik (Sweden Jr.)
170. Carolina Hurricanes: Bryce Montgomery, D, London (OHL)
171. Arizona Coyotes: Cal Thomas, D, Maple Grove (High MN)
172. Chicago Blackhawks: Ilya Safonov, C, Kazan (Russia)
173. Calgary Flames: Lucas Ciona, LW, Seattle (WHL)
174. Philadelphia Flyers: Ethan Samson, D, Prince George (WHL)
175. Dallas Stars: Francesco Arcuri, C, Kingston (OHL)
176. Washington Capitals: Dru Krebs, D, Medicine Hat (WHL)
177. San Jose Sharks: Theo Jacobsson, C, Modo Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
178. Vancouver Canucks: Connor Lockhart, RW, Portland (WHL)
179. Nashville Predators: Simon Knak, RW, Portland (WHL)
180. Edmonton Oilers: Matvey Petrov, LW, Krylja Sovetov 2 (Russia Jr.)
181. Boston Bruins: Ryan Mast, D, Sarnia (OHL)
182. Minnesota Wild: Nate Benoit, D, Mount St. Charles (High RI)
183. Washington Capitals: Chase Clark, G, Jersey (USPHL)
184. Florida Panthers: Jakub Kos, LW, Ilves (Finland)
185. Toronto Maple Leafs: Vyacheslav Peksa, Irbis Kazan (Russia Jr.)
186. Edmonton Oilers: Shane Lachance, LW, Junior Bruins (USPHL)
187. Carolina Hurricanes: Nikita Quapp, G, Krefeld (Germany)
188. Buffalo Sabres: Nikita Novikov, D, Dynamo Moscow 2 (Russia Jr.)
189. New York Islanders: Aleksi Malinen, D, JYP (Finland)
190. Vegas Golden Knights: Artur Cholach, D, Sokol Kiev (Ukraine)
191. Montreal Canadiens: Xavier Simoneau, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
192. Tampa Bay Lightning: Alex Gagne, D, Muskegon (USHL)

Round 7

193. Buffalo Sabres: Tyson Kozak, C, Portland (WHL)
194. Pittsburgh Penguins: Ryan McCleary, D, Portland (WHL)
195. Seattle Kraken: Justin Janicke, LW, US U-18 (NTDP)
196. Tampa Bay Lightning: Daniil Pylenkov, D, St. Petersburg (Russia)
197. Columbus Blue Jackets: Martin Rysavy, RW, Moose Jaw (WHL)
198. St. Louis Blues: Ivan Vorobyov, RW, Khanty-Mansiysk 2 (Russia Jr.)
199. San Jose Sharks: Evgenii Kashnikov, D, Gatineau (QMJHL)
200. Carolina Hurricanes: Yegor Naumov, G, Krylja Sovetov 2 (Russia Jr.)
201. Vancouver Canucks: Lucas Forsell, LW, Farjestad Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
202. Ottawa Senators: Chandler Romeo, D, Brantford (GOJHL)
203. New Jersey Devils: Zakhar Bardakov, C, St. Petersburg (Russia)
204. Chicago Blackhawks: Connor Kelley, D, Minnesota-Duluth (NCHC)
205. Calgary Flames: Arsenii Sergeev, G, Shreveport (NAHL)
206. Philadelphia Flyers: Owen McLaughlin, C, Mount St. Charles (High RI)
207. Dallas Stars: Albert Sjoberg, RW, Sodertalje (Sweden Jr.)
208. New York Rangers: Hank Kempf, D, Muskegon (USHL)
209. Carolina Hurricanes: Nikita Guslistov, C, Cherepovets (Russia)
210. Florida Panthers: Braden Hache, D, Kingston (OHL)
211. Tampa Bay Lightning: Robert Flinton, LW, St. Paul’s School (High NH)
212. Edmonton Oilers: Maximus Wanner, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
213. Boston Bruins: Andre Gasseau, C, US U-18 (NTDP)
214. Montreal Canadiens: Joe Vrbetic, G, North Bay (OHL)
215. Pittsburgh Penguins: Daniel Laatsch, D, Sioux City (USHL)
216. Chicago Blackhawks: Jalen Luypen, C, Edmonton (WHL)
217. Boston Bruins: Ty Gallagher, D, Boston University (H-East)
218. Pittsburgh Penguins: Kirill Tankov, C, Ska-Varyagi (Russia Jr.)
219. Carolina Hurricanes: Joel Nystrom, D, Farjestad (Sweden)
220. Colorado Avalanche: Taylor Makar, LW, Brooks (AJHL)
221. New York Islanders: Tomas Machu, D, Vitkovice Jr. (Czech Jr.)
222. Vegas Golden Knights: Carl Lindbom, G, Djurgarden Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
223. Arizona Coyotes: Samuel Lipkin, LW, Chicago (USHL)
224. Tampa Bay Lightning: Niko Huuhtanen, RW, Tappara Jr. (Finland Jr.)

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    Sabres agree with Dylan Cozens on 7-year, $49.7M extension

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    BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with forward Dylan Cozens on a seven-year extension worth $49.7 million.

    The team announced the contract. Cozens will count $7.1 million against the salary cap through the 2029-30 season.

    Cozens, who turns 22, is the latest core player the Sabres have extended over the past six months. Buffalo signed All-Star forward Tage Thompson for $50 million over seven seasons in August and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to a seven-year, $30 million deal in October.

    Rasmus Dahlin, the top pick in 2020 who’s a Norris Trophy candidate and filled in for Thompson at NHL All-Star weekend, figures to be next for a big contract. He’s signed through next season and can begin talking about an extension this summer.

    Cozens, who was set to be a restricted free agent, has already set career highs with 17 goals, 26 assists and 43 points – with 30 games left in the season. The seventh pick in 2019, Cozens has 34 goals and 60 assists in 169 regular-season NHL games, all with Buffalo.

    The Sabres, led by Dahlin, Thompson, Cozens and 2021 No. 1 pick Owen Power, are contending to make the playoffs. The organization’s 11-year playoff drought dating to 2011 is by far the longest in the league.

    Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health

    avalanche injuries
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    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Had his coach been watching, this might have made for an anxious moment: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar catching an edge and falling in the fastest skater contest.

    Jared Bednar wasn’t tuned in, though, and had no idea what happened in the skills contest over All-Star weekend. Only that Makar emerged from his crash into the boards just fine.

    These days, things are definitely looking up for the Stanley Cup champions on the injury front. Defenseman Bowen Byram returns to the lineup, along with forward Valeri Nichushkin. Defenseman Josh Manson is creeping closer to a return. Same for captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s yet to play this season. Forward Darren Helm is progressing, too.

    In spite of all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche entered the All-Star break in a playoff spot. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, a mark that’s tied for the most in a single season since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.

    “Anybody we can get back right now is huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

    Byram returns after being sidelined with a lower-body injury since early November. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago, when he led all rookies with nine assists in the postseason. Byram was off to a fast start this season – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before his injury.

    “He’s looking great. He’s buzzing out there,” Makar said of his fellow blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into game mode. But I think he’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly.”

    Byram missed a chunk of games last season as he dealt with concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be around the team as he worked his way back.

    “I was just happy it wasn’t my head,” Byram said. “It was a lot easier to be out when you’re still feeling good and feel like yourself. … I’m just excited to get going again.”

    Count on Byram for as many minutes as necessary, too.

    “I’m 100%, so no reason to ease into it,” Byram said. “I’m confident with jumping back in.”

    Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can skate with the squad. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since the start of December.

    “I do think it helps to get on the road, be around the guys,” Bednar said.

    Landeskog could be back “fairly soon,” Bednar said, but didn’t have a definitive timeline quite yet. The longtime Avalanche captain has been sidelined since knee surgery in October.

    The Avalanche entered the All-Star break on quite a roll, winning seven of their last eight. They’ve amassed 57 points, which trails Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.

    One thing the Avalanche are guarding against is another slow start out off the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and promptly went 0-4-1 upon their return.

    “It’s just shifting the mentality back to game mode. No more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not where we want to be right now. But there’s a lot of time left.”

    Kraken add some size, acquire Jaycob Megna from San Jose

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    SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken acquired defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

    Megna is in the midst of his best season with 12 points in 48 games for the Sharks while averaging more than 19 minutes per game.

    “Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “He provides welcome depth to our defensive group and we are happy to have him join our organization.”

    The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Megna will add some size and bulk to Seattle’s lineup. Megna ranked fifth for San Jose in both blocked shots and hits.

    Megna previously played for Anaheim for parts of three seasons between 2016-19. The 48 games played this season is a career-high for the 30-year-old.

    Seattle is tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and will return from the All-Star break beginning against the New York Islanders.

    Islanders sign Bo Horvat to 8-year deal after trading for him

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    The New York Islanders signed center Bo Horvat to an eight-year contract less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

    The team announced the contract after their first practice following the All-Star break. Horvat’s deal is worth $68 million and carries a $8.5 million salary cap hit through the 2030-31 season.

    General manager Lou Lamoriello joked to reporters at practice on Long Island that Horvat’s contract was “too long and it’s too much money.”

    The Islanders sent forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a protected first-round pick to the Canucks for Horvat . He was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the trade was a result of Vancouver and Horvat’s camp being unable to reach a deal last summer.

    Lamoriello and Horvat expressed confidence about getting a deal done after the trade. The 27-year-old has scored more than 30 goals for a second consecutive season.

    Horvat was chosen as an All-Star and played for the Pacific Division despite the trade. He played with longtime Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and combined on one last goal together before parting ways.

    “I want to get going,” Horvat said after the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. “That’s enough. Let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”

    Horvat was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was traded. He said coach Lane Lambert wanted him to enjoy All-Star festivities before getting rolling with the Islanders, who play at the Philadelphia Flyers.

    “Obviously getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1 and getting systems down and obviously chemistry with the new linemates and stuff like that,” Horvat said.

    After facing the Flyers and Seattle, Horvat will play against his former team when Vancouver visits UBS Arena.