• Ben Blakely

Granato, Offseason Work Highlights Day Two of Sabres Locker Room Clean-Out


Dylan Cozens had a quiet, yet productive rookie season for the Buffalo Sabres in 2021 (Photo By: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images)

BUFFALO, N.Y. --- The Buffalo Sabres hosted day two of media availability for locker room clean-out on Tuesday from the KeyBank Center. But while the focus was mainly on the season, Jack Eichel's comments on Monday resurfaced during the interviews.


Eichel expressed his frustration with the Sabres organization on Monday, saying there was a disconnect regarding his neck injury treatment. However, Sabres rookie Dylan Cozens said Eichel and Sam Reinhart have helped him immensely.


" I can only say great things about those two guys. From the moment I was drafted, obviously, Reinhart being there and Eichel calling me, those guys have been great to me since the moment I got here," Cozens said.


But while Cozens was positive about both Sabres stars, he knows the management decisions are out of his control, and he could step up as a leader if both Eichel and Reinhart leave.


"Whatever happens with them is out of my control. Obviously, we would love to have them back, and if they are not, I do think there will be room for me to step up and be more of a leader," he said.


Looking back on his season, Cozens had a strong rookie campaign with 13 points (4+9) in 41 games for the Sabres. However, the 20-year-old said he did not like the way he finished the season on the ice.





"The last stretch for me, I did not produce how I wanted to finish. It was a long year for me, but there is no excuse there or anything. I would love to be playing in the playoffs right now, but it's going to be good for me to take a little mental break and then get after it," Cozens said.


It was a long season for Cozens on the ice. The Canadian native spent the late part of 2020 competing for Team Canada at the World Juniors, winning a silver medal. After the loss in the championship, Cozens had to quarantine for a week before coming to Sabres training camp.


After playing in 48 games over a couple of months, Cozens does need a break. If he were to go back to Canada right away, Cozens would have to begin a three-day day quarantine before going home to see his family.


Still, Cozens does not know his current plans for lodging but says he wants to go home when he can.


I don't have any plans yet. I could go back home, but I'd have to quarantine, and I don't want to quarantine right away. I might stick around here for a bit or get down somewhere else, but I do want to get home and see my family," he said.


Another player made available to the media was left winger Victor Olofsson. The 25-year-old was a workhorse for the Sabres on offense, scoring 13 goals and adding 19 assists in 56 games for Buffalo.



Victor Olofsson had a solid year for the Sabres, suiting up in 56 games for the Blue and Gold (Photo By Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)


"Overall with Donnie, I felt we managed the puck a little better, and he wanted us to play more freely. I like feeling free on the ice, and he made us go out and enjoy it, and I think all of us benefited from that," Olofsson said.





As the conference went on, Olofsson talked about what he wants to do over the summer to become a more prolific scorer. And for him, it's attacking the net.


"I got to place a little bit more on the inside and find ways to score more goals. I know I can score from the outside, and I am going to get my opportunities. It's just kinda getting more on the inside and score more of those dirty goals," he said.


Buffalo wraps up their locker room clean-out on Wednesday, as interim head coach Don Granato and General Manager Kevyn Adams meet with the media at 11:00 and 11:30.