Sabres take Owen Power No. 1 overall; hold on to Jack Eichel but have Sam Reinhart trade pending

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Mar 7, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) reacts after a goal by the New York Islanders during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The long anticipated trade of Jack Eichel did not take place last night. According to Elliotte Friedman, the price remains too high causing teams to back out. However; it appears Sam Reinhart will be joining the Florida Panthers pending a trade call this morning.

Buffalo did hold the number one overall pick in the draft and made the most of it.

Sabres select Owen Power No. 1 overall

The Buffalo Sabres selected 6-foot-6 defenseman Owen Power with the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Draft on Friday night.

It’s 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?’

Sabres still have Jack Eichel

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Mar 2, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) stretches in warm-ups prior to a game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett-POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres had made it known they wanted another lottery type pick for Jack Eichel in any trade. That window has closed for this year, and there’s no guarantee that any 2022 first round pick will fit that bill.

When asked last night about his price being too high for Eichel, Adams did not want to talk about “rumors.” Instead he wanted to focus on his mission.

“I’ve said from Day 1 that we have to look at every possible scenario and be willing to see, ‘Does this makes sense for us and why?’ And ask those hard questions,” he said. “We’re having a lot of conversations but if we’re in a position where we feel that there’s value and we feel it’s going to help our franchise, then we’ll make certain decisions.”

Yet there still seems to be a severe disconnect and it makes you wonder just how much the two sides are talking. When a reporter asked about Eichel’s agent saying his client is skating, Adams was basically unaware.

“That’s great if he’s skating,” Adams said almost dismissively. The GM noted that players skate in their hometowns all the time but he has not seen him skate in Buffalo.

Adams acknowledged his agents comments that Eichel feels great, but left no indication that a trade is close to happening.

While an Eichel trade is inevitable, missing out on an opportunity to move him at the draft seems like a wasted one. The price can only go down after last night. Once teams spend their money on free agents comes July 28th, the pool of supposed interested teams will diminish further.

Here’s one final huge reminder. Jack Eichel’s no-move clause will kick in next summer. The closer they get it going into effect, the expected return will be less.

–Field Level Media contributed to this article