Dylan Cozens has established himself as one of Buffalo’s premier players this season. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres sign Dylan Cozens to long-term contract

The Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday locked up another piece of their young core, agreeing to terms with center Dylan Cozens on a seven-year, $49.7 million contract.

Cozens, who turns 22 on Thursday, joins defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and center Tage Thompson, both of whom signed seven-year deals before the season.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Cozens has seized a leading role in the Sabres’ ascension into a playoff contender this season, setting career highs with 17 goals and 43 points in 49 games. Meanwhile, he has entrenched himself as the No. 2 center, often pivoting rookies JJ Peterka and Jack Quinn.

Cozens’ mature, tenacious style has also endeared him to teammates and fans.

His new contract carries a $7.1 million average annual value, slightly less than Thompson’s seven-year, $50 million deal ($7,142,857). Samuelsson signed a $30 million contract.

Cozens will receive a $2 million signing bonus next season and a $5.1 million base salary, according to capfriendly.com. He will earn a $7.1 million base salary over the final six years. Beginning in 2027-28, a five-team no-trade clause kicks in, according to capfriendly.com.

Right now, he has the Sabres’ third-highest salary cap for 2023-24, trailing only winger Jeff Skinner ($9 million) and Thompson.

The Sabres drafted Cozens seventh overall in 2019. He has compiled 34 goals and 94 points in 169 career NHL games over three seasons.

Cozens’ entry-level contract will expire following the season. With the Yukon native locked up, forwards Rasmus Asplund and Tyson Jost and defenseman Kale Clague can become the Sabres’ most prominent restricted free agents this summer.

The Sabres are on their bye week and will practice again Thursday afternoon, when general manager Kevyn Adams is scheduled to address the media.

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