With the first pick of the 2021 NHL Draft, the Buffalo Sabres have selected defenseman Owen Power from the University of Michigan of the NCAA
From the very start of the season, Owen Power has been touted as one of the best prospects in this draft, and to a lot of people, the best of the bunch. He’s the first defenseman to hold the No. 1 spot in North American NHL Central Scouting since Seth Jones topped the rankings in 2013.
It’s easy to see why Power has earned that type of praise. Standing at 6-foot-5, 214 pounds, he is an excellent skater for someone of his size. He is very careful with the puck, making plays in the transition game and making those plays without hesitation. He’s great at finding space and he has a booming slapshot that can threaten offensively.
THW Prospect Profile Except
“Including having one of the best names in the draft, Owen Power boasts an intriguing package of size, power (pun certainly intended), mobility, and hockey IQ from the backend. Playing for the powerhouse Michigan Wolverines, he excelled in his freshman season and showed everyone why he will be strongly considered for the first-overall pick in July.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
“Power isn’t the odds-on favorite to go first overall, but he’s definitely in the running. After a strong season in the USHL with the Chicago Steel where he recorded 12 goals and 40 points in 45 games, he adjusted to life in the NCAA with the Wolverines almost immediately. He ended up playing in all situations and became one of head coach Mel Pearson’s most trusted defencemen.
“The 6-foot-5 Mississauga native has all the attributes of a minute-munching top-pairing defenceman who can play upwards of 30 minutes a night. With his offensive smarts, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play the role of power forward one day and dominate the game like Dustin Byfuglien and Brent Burns did for the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks respectively. His toolbox is that extensive.
“Power can also run a power play with his precise passing and cannon of a shot and neutralize threats on the penalty kill with his physicality and massive wingspan. His defensive game is still a work in progress, but that weakness does not rear its head very often, as he usually plays an efficient game in all three zones. With his ability to either calmly skate the puck out of the zone or make a quick breakout pass, he is rarely in trouble defensively.
“All in all, Power is a complete two-way defenceman that will become the envy of every NHL team that does not select him in the upcoming draft. He has almost unlimited potential as not only a top-pairing defenceman but also potentially as a top-six power forward that can score 20 goals. There are not too many prospects that have that sort of potential.”
Full player profile can be found here
How This Affects the Sabres Plans
The Sabres have now put together their defensive pairing of the future, finding a perfect partner for former first-overall pick Rasmus Dahlin. However, Power did come out and say that he was going to come back to the University of Michigan this season, so Buffalo won’t see that impact immediately. He likely won’t report to the NHL this season, unless he reports at the end of the season or changes his mind.
However, despite that, the Sabres’ rebuild just received a huge boost. Their back end is going to be set for years and they found their new face of the franchise if Jack Eichel is on his way out. Buffalo will be one of the best defensive teams in the league a few years down the line, now it’s up to the front office to pair that defensive core with a forward core that can take them back to the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.