BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Sabres secured another foundation piece Tuesday, signing center Dylan Cozens to a seven-year contract extension worth $49.7M, the team announced.

Cozens, who turns 22 on Thursday, has set career highs in his third NHL season with 17 goals and 43 points through 49 games as Buffalo’s second-line center. The seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft has 34 goals and 94 points in 169 career games.

The Sabres now have their top two centers locked up long term. Cozens’ extended contract’s $7.1 million annual value is worth slightly less than the 7-year deal, $50 million extension that top-line center Tage Thompson signed with the Sabres in August. The 25-year-old Thompson’s deal, which doesn’t kick in until next season, already looks like a bargain as leads the Sabres with 34 goals and 69 points in 50 games and was selected to play in his first All-Star Game.

All-Star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, the top pick in 2020 who’s a Norris Trophy candidate, figures to be next for a big contract. He’s signed through next season and can begin talking about an extension this summer. The Sabres signed Dahlin’s blue-line parter, Mattias Samuelsson to a seven-year, $30 million extension in October.

Buffalo entered the All-Star break with its best record after 50 games (26-20-4) in the 12 seasons since the Sabres last qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Sabres, who return to practice Thursday and will play their first game after the break Saturday against the Flames, entered the break one point out of the Eastern Conference wild-card race, in an effort to end their NHL-record postseason drought.

General manager Kevyn Adams will speak to reporters before the Sabres practice on Thursday.

The Sabres now have $57.9 million in salaries committed for the 2023-24 season, according to Spotrac. The NHL salary cap is currently $82.5 million, and is expected to rise at least $4 million next season. Top-line winger Jeff Skinner is Buffalo’s highest-paid player, counting $9 million against the cap through 2027.

Cozens, known as the workhorse from Whitehorse in the Yukon territory of northwest Canada, has had a breakout season centering the Sabres’ youthful second line with Jack Quinn and J.J. Peterka on his wings. Cozens has tallied three or more points on four occasions, becoming the 19th NHL player age 21 younger, and first in 11 seasons, to have three or more points in three consecutive games. His 0.88 points per game rank second among his draft class after No. 1 pick Jack Hughes of the Devils.


Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.