For the second time in four drafts, the Buffalo Sabres have selected a defenseman with the first-overall pick. Owen Power joins Rasmus Dahlin in the Buffalo organization after being the consensus top draft choice.
After an outstanding freshman season at the University of Michigan, Power went and joined Team Canada at the World Championship. Starting the tournament as an extra defenseman, he was logging first-pairing minutes by the end of the tournament under head coach Gerard Gallant, proving he could immediately step into the NHL should he decide to sign with the Sabres right away.
That’s the big question about Power though, as the 6’6″ defenseman has been clear that he’s currently leaning towards a return to Michigan. With the COVID restrictions this year, he and fellow top picks Matty Beniers and Kent Johnson were unable to really receive the whole college hockey experience. A return could very well lead to a national title bid with that kind of talent on the roster (not to mention fourth-overall pick Luke Hughes, who is also committed to the program), though the allure of an NHL contract is obviously a tough thing to turn down.
A strong skater with a wingspan that seems to stretch across the entire ice surface, Power projects as a rock-solid first-line player in the NHL. Whether his offensive upside ever truly materializes is the big question, but even if he settles in as more of a Jay Bouwmeester than a Victor Hedman, the Sabres are getting a heck of a player. In fact, he could represent a perfect partner for the more offensively-oriented Dahlin, who will now be elevated even further with Rasmus Ristolainen on his way out of Buffalo.
With another pick in the first round and two more big chips to trade in Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, the Sabres are kickstarting a rebuild under GM Kevyn Adams. Power is a huge addition to that process and should be logging huge minutes in the NHL before long.