Former Michigan defenseman has tall order in Buffalo
Meet Sabres Top Pick Owen Power
Michigan dominates first round: Blue and maize painted the opening of the NHL entry draft on Friday as the Buffalo Sabres selected Michigan defenseman Owen Power. Power — the first of three Michigan players to be chosen in the top 4 — will help usher in the next era of Sabres hockey as Buffalo finally has its cornerstone to build around.
The Power of Owen: If teams could mold a first overall selection, Owen Power would be the prototype. Power was the No. 1 ranked skater coming into the draft and became only the fourth NCAA player to ever be taken first overall. At 6’6, 213 pounds he has the stature of a prototypical number one defenseman at the NHL level. As a freshman in the NCAA last season, he notched 16 points in 26 games, landing on the Big Ten All-Rookie Team and Big Ten Second All-Star Team. He also played for Team Canada at this year’s World Championships, logging 24:17 in the Gold Medal game, being a key component to Canada winning gold and showing he’s ready to play the men’s game.
On the ice, he’s clearly ready to take the next step, but that’s true off the ice as well. Humility and a hunger to be better don’t always accompany a consensus number one overall pick, but Power seems to have both. “He’s a pain in the ass because he always wants extra ice and video. And he’s not concerned if he’s in your office a lot,” his coach at Michigan Mel Pearson said. Ryan Hardy, who was GM of the USHL Chicago Steel when Power was on the team, concurred. “He’s coachable. He always wants more information. He never thinks he’s above anything. This is the Owen Power draft. I don’t think a lot of people know how good he is.”
Future Prospects: Just 18 years of age, Power’s immediate future seems to be back at Michigan. After his first season was shortened by the pandemic and the Wolverines had to withdraw from the NCAA tournament, Power hinted that he’d be heading back for another year.
His long-term future is as an anchor on the Buffalo blueline alongside 2018 first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin. With his size and acumen, comparisons to Victor Hedman — while lofty — don’t seem unjustified. Most teams search perpetually for that number one defenseman, of which there are only truly a handful at any given time. The Sabres have theirs, and for the first time in a long time the future is bright in Buffalo.
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