Report: Sabres first overall pick Owen Power returning to Michigan

The Buffalo News is reporting that the Sabres number one pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft is heading back to Michigan. Owen Power had indicated prior to the Draft that he was leaning towards a return to the NCAA, and that’s where he will skate this upcoming season.

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Sabres number one pick Owen Power

The Buffalo Sabres selected 6-foot-6 defenseman Owen Power with the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Draft. It was the second time in the past four years the Sabres used the No. 1 pick to select a defenseman. They chose Rasmus Dahlin first overall in 2018.

Power, who turns 19 on Nov. 22, recently completed his freshman year at the University of Michigan, finishing fourth in scoring among Big Ten defensemen (three goals, 13 assists) and making second-team all-conference.

After the Wolverines’ postseason run was cut short by COVID-19 protocols in early March, Power helped Team Canada win gold at the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Latvia.

Power is the fourth NCAA hockey player to be selected first overall, joining Joe Murphy (1986, Michigan State), Rick DiPietro (2000, Boston University) and Erik Johnson (2006, Minnesota).

He’s also just the fourth defenseman selected No. 1 overall in the past 25 years, joining Dahlin, Johnson and Aaron Ekblad (2014).

After his selection, Power surrounded by family and friends beamed with excitement. When asked if being drafted may have helped him decide if he would return back to Michigan or join the Sabres, he opted to just enjoy the moment.

“I know we’re talking about the Number 1 overall pick, and a player that’s clearly capable of stepping right into the NHL,” GM Kevyn Adams said after the draft. “But I think you have to look at the long game even with a player at this level and say, `What is the best for him? How does he continue to get better?’

That answer is now clearly a return to college.