Three of the top five picks in the Draft will all be returning to Michigan this upcoming season.
Defenseman Owen Power, the Buffalo Sabres’ No. 1 overall pick in July’s NHL draft, has decided to return for his sophomore season at the University of Michigan, multiple outlets reported Thursday.
That was also followed with news that Seattle Kraken’s No 2 overall pick Matthew Beniers and Columbus Blue Jackets’ No. 5 picks Kent Johnson are also returning to Michigan.
Owen Power heading back to Michigan
Power, 18, had to choose between extending his amateur career and reporting to the Sabres’ organization ahead of the 2021-22 season. In interviews before the draft, Power had hinted that he was enticed to play another NCAA season.
The Canadian blueliner is listed at 6-feet-6, 213 pounds, and was considered the consensus best prospect available to the Sabres at No. 1.
Power was one of four current or incoming Wolverines players to be selected in the top five of the draft. Defenseman Luke Hughes (No. 4 pick, New Jersey) is headed to Michigan for his freshman year and will team up with Power.
Center Matthew Beniers (No. 2, Seattle) and forward Kent Johnson (No. 5, Columbus) also played for Michigan last season. They will be joining Power in trying to win the NCAA Championship.
“I want to have a real year. I want to try and make a run at the national championship,” Beniers said about leaning to a return to Michigan. “Obviously, if that’s not the best decision for my development and me as a hockey player then so be it, but I think those are kind of some perks, something that I kind of want to do. But I think at the end of the day it’s kind of what is the right thing for me to do as a hockey player and as a person.”
Power marks the fourth No. 1 overall pick in Buffalo history, and the franchise’s second in four years after the selection of Rasmus Dahlin in 2018.
Beniers led the Big Ten in on-ice rating last season with +21 and had 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 24 games.
Johnson, was second on the Wolverines last season in scoring with 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists).
The Sabres are concurrently dealing with an unhappy star center in Jack Eichel, whose agents have made it clear that he wants a trade.
–Field Level Media