Owen Power will reportedly return to Michigan for his second season. Power was selected first overall in the 2021 NHL Draft in July, but Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News reported Thursday that the standout defender is officially putting his NHL debut on hold.
The move should come as no surprise to Sabers fans. The power has hinted at it several times.
“He will probably stay,” he said when speaking to the media after being drafted. He also said he was leaning toward staying in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when asked during his pre-draft availability.
“I think I can step in and play, so I don’t think the decision is whether or not I’m ready to play,” Power said as he put on the blue and gold Sabers. “I think it is better or not for my development at the end of the day.”
He also mentioned during his pre-draft press session that “my goal is to play one more year and then be ready to play in the NHL.”
Off the ice, Power’s first year was anything but normal due to COVID-19. He said a big reason to come back is to experience college as it should be, with in-person classes and playing in front of the Yost Arena faithful.
On ice, Power was exceptional for head coach Mel Pearson’s team. He was the top-scoring rookie defender of the Big Ten with 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 26 games. The 6-5, 214-pound Mississauga, Ontario native was also named College Hockey News Rookie of the Year and a finalist for Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Michigan’s season ended due to COVID protocols just hours before they were set to play Minnesota Duluth in the Midwest regional semifinal of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
In May, Power headed to Latvia and was a key member of the Hockey Canada gold medal winning team. At just 18 years old, he displayed immense poise while patrolling Canada’s Blue Line and leaned on key situations, including the waning minutes of regulation with the championship game tied.
MORE: Canada wins gold after 0-3 start
Going back to Michigan, albeit a bit unprecedented, with most of the No. 1 picks heading for the NHL ranks, makes more sense. The Sabers are a team struggling to resolve (see: Jack Eichel; see: Rasmus Dahlin is yet to sign; see: team is rebuilding) and will likely fight for the top pick again in 2022.
On the other hand, the Wolverines are expected to be a powerhouse in 2021-22. Power tops a list that could include five 2021 first-round picks: Matty Beniers (second overall by the Kraken), Luke Hughes (fourth by the Devils), Kent Johnson (fifth by the Blue Jackets) and Mackie Samoskevich (No. 24 for the Panthers). The team also includes USA Hockey standouts Thomas Bordeleau (2020 Sharks second-round pick), Brendan Brisson (2020 2020 29th overall by the Golden Knights) and Johnny Beecher (2019 Bruins first-round pick). ).
Chances are Power will sign with the Sabers late in the Michigan season, and what better way to do it than with an NCAA title and maybe a Hobey Bakerm in hand.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.