Team 2020-21: Portland Winterhawks
Date of birth: December 29, 2002
Place of birth: Souris, MB, Canada
Height: 5 feet-11 Weight: 161 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 eligible in first year
The move from the Winnipeg AAA Leagues to the Western Hockey League (WHL) was a bigger change than Tyson Kozak anticipated. He changed his style of play and his role on the team, going from a powerful striker to a defensive forward in two full seasons. His defensive mentality became his strongest trait during his time in Portland, and he proved to be a reliable player on special teams.
Kozak was born in Souris, a small town in western Manitoba. He played AAA hockey for the U15 Southwest Cougars team before joining the organization’s U18 team in 2017. He immediately broke with the U18 team and had 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists) in 44 games. The following season turned out to be even better for the forward, as he recorded 72 points (26 goals, 46 points) in 40 games. That season alone was enough for him to convince a WHL team to sign him, and he joined the Portland Winterhawks in the 2018-19 season.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Kozak’s offensive productivity wasn’t as consistent for the Winterhawks as it had been for the Cougars, but he was still a strong contributor on the top six and bottom. His first full season was pretty solid, registering 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) in 63 games. He played 18 games in the shortened 2020-21 season and briefly returned to his home province to play for the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL).
Kozak has several defensive qualities for a center and uses those traits to maintain possession for his team or to create cross-attacking hockey. He is able to control players effectively and can stay tight on any opposing player. He’s a forward by trade, but he lacked a dominant offensive position considerably during his time in Portland. Therefore, he will need to make major changes to his physique and work with the puck if he is to become a powerful and complete center.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Tyson Kozak – 2021 NHL Draft Screening
Kozak is one of three Winterhawks to receive a âCâ grade for the draft. He should be selected in the third or fourth round of the draft, although the fourth round seems a more realistic possibility.
âKozak is a defensive center who uses his skating and awareness to tip the ice and create possession for his team. His hands, however, limit his ability to help on the offensive side. – Kurt Pohs, FC Hockey
âKozak is a two-way forward designated as a ‘C’ prospect by the NHL Central Scouting and has just finished a 29-point season and is expected to see an increased role with some key forwards departing this season. – Josh Horton, The Sound of Hockey
- Hold the washer
Under construction – Improvements to be made
- Washer movement
- Handling the puck in the offensive zone
Kozak would be a good option for a shorthanded unit due to his ability to restrain opposition, but he might not be given an offensive role early in his NHL career.
Risk / return analysis
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantastic hockey potential
Attack – 6/10, Defense – 7/10
Awards / Achievements
Kozak won a bronze medal at the WHL Cup in the 2017-18 season.
Interview / Profile Links
Tyson Kozak Statistics
James is a graduate of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), where he studied broadcasting with the hope of becoming a sports journalist. He coincided his studies with a part-time job at Rogers Place and had many memorable moments for the Edmonton Oilers.
James currently runs his own YouTube channel and website, both called From The Anvil. He regularly posts content on West Ham United – his favorite football team – and has appeared on numerous football podcasts. He covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.