When the Buffalo Sabres secured the first-overall pick in this year’s draft, they had a decision to make. Usually, the top pick in a draft steps directly into the NHL and is given a full-time role on his team. This year, things were different with Owen Power, the consensus top prospect. The big defenseman had already hinted publicly that he was leaning toward a return to the University of Michigan, meaning he wouldn’t be able to help the Sabres during the early part of the season. As revealed today in a behind the scenes video from their pre-draft interview, Power didn’t just hint, he made it quite clear that he wanted to go back to school.
The Sabres, even then, were on board with the idea. GM Kevyn Adams told Power that he loved what he had said about returning to school to chase a national championship and dominate the college scene with no rush to get to the NHL. Michigan should be a powerhouse this season with not only Power returning, but also second-overall pick Matty Beniers and fifth-overall Kent Johnson also returning to the program. Add in fourth-overall Luke Hughes, who will be a freshman with the Wolverines, and it’s easy to see why Power would want to take at least one last crack at an NCAA title before turning pro.
- The Montreal Canadiens have appointed France Margaret Belanger to the position of President, Sports and Entertainment of Groupe CH. Belanger has been with the organization since 2013 and already served as an alternate governor of the club. As Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports tweets, Geoff Molson remains the team’s owner and president, but it is Belanger who will be in charge of the day to day operations now. She is the first woman to serve on the Canadiens’ executive in its 104-year history, according to a press release.
- J.C. Lipon went to the KHL last season and it appears as though he’s going to stay for another year. The former NHL forward has signed a one-year deal with Sochi for the 2021-22 season, after scoring 20 points in 37 games for Dinamo Riga this year. Originally selected 91st overall by the Winnipeg Jets in 2013, Lipon played nine games 2015-16 but has mostly been in the minor leagues. In 2019-20 he scored 13 goals and 31 points with the Manitoba Moose, racking up 100 penalty minutes (his sixth AHL season with at least that many).