2021 World Juniors Recap: Zegras vs. Cozens
The World Juniors have come to a close the United States taking the crown as World Junior Champions, there are lots to take away from the historic tournament. Besides the fact that this was the first tournament played with no fans, there are a few things to recognize.
Firstly, Germany certainly outperformed their expectations especially given the fact they played two world-class teams with half a bench and their top lines out. The adversity they faced was unmatched, most prominently when they faced Team Canada. This game deserves recognition on both sides, Canada absolutely dominated offensively and out on an absolute clinic but Germany never quit fighting putting up 2 goals on the scoresheet. Germany rallied the rest of the tournament defeating Slovakia and Switzerland then putting up a close game against Russia.
This tournament was filled with many offensive feats but Trevor Zegras and Dylan Cozens displayed utter dominance, Zegras with 18 points and Cozens with 16. After this tournament, Zegras is now among elite company in the World Junior community joining Jordan Eberle and Alexander Nylander at 27 total points. Zegras and Cozens are very clearly ready for the next level and can most definitely make a strong impact in the NHL.
What predictions can we make about their impact? Let’s take a look. Zegras is comparable to Alex Nylander of the Chicago Blackhawks with his slippery skating, skilled hands, and quick release. Zegras showed he can not only push the pace of the game with his elusive skating, but he can set up his teammates just as well as he can put the puck in the back of the net. He netted 7G and 11A for a tournament-leading 18P, comparable to Nylander’s 14P when he was the same age. Zegras will fit in perfectly to Anaheim’s gameplay, as a two-way center with clean edgework he has the potential to make a strong offensive and defensive impact. Zegras is starting out with the San Diego Gulls, and we predict Zegras putting up 45-55 points in his first AHL season.
Cozens is comparable to Ryan Kessler with his deadly shot and his quick skating and is continuously the most competitive player on the ice winning puck races and doing the dirty work. Throughout the tournament, Cozens was dominant in puck possession and made consistent crisp passes. He separates himself with his phenomenal vision, he sees the ice differently than any other players, and it shows through his playmaking abilities. Cozens dropped 8G and 8A for 16P, just a touch behind Zegras. Cozens will most likely find himself in the bottom 6, considering the top 6 of the Buffalo Sabres’ roster is filled with skilled veterans. There is no secret he will make an immediate impact with his playing style, a natural goal scorer with great vision will be likely to progress through the lineup. We predict Cozens to be in the 30 point region and to be a fast learner in Buffalo’s system.