Owen Power made a splash as he was almost guaranteed to be taken first overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. The player has already had success with the Canadian National Team, having taken home a World Championship gold during the 2021 World Championship competition. As well, the young player has performed well in the USHL and has currently played quite well in the NCAA for the University of Michigan hockey team.
So, will we see the first overall pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft play in the NHL this season? It doesn’t seem overly likely so far. The Buffalo Sabres have yet to sign Power to a contract going into the 2021-2022 NHL season, even though the prospect most certainly looks ready to take on the next steps in his career. The likely reasoning behind this could be that the player would want to finish his schooling before taking his step into the NHL, however, that is purely speculative at this time.
What can be expected of Owen Power?
If the Buffalo Sabres were to sign Power to a contract and have him play in the NHL, it is likely they would have him fill the hole left by the departure of Rasmus Ristolainen, however, he may not be played on the same line. The team would be free to explore defensive pairings, depending on whether they want to pair the youngster with a veteran defenseman such as Colin Miller.
They could also pair him with a fellow young player, who has a couple of seasons under their belts such as Robert Hagg or Rasmus Dahlin. Overall, either option would likely serve well for the development of Power, but playing with Dahlin would likely be the best option, as this would allow the player to put up first-line minutes with an elite player in the team.
If the player were to enter into the NHL, he would be joining a rather popular group of players who had been taken first overall going directly into the NHL, a group that has been growing continually since the 2007 draft when the Chicago Blackhawks selected Patrick Kane first overall. The last player to be drafted first overall and then not play in the same season was Erik Johnson, who played the 2007-2008 season after being drafted in 2006. This would make Power the first player in 15 years to be selected first overall and not play the following season.
If the Sabres were to leave him unsigned – the player would continue to play for the University of Michigan and develop, but would not be under the training supervision of the Sabres, and thus not subject to the development that playing for an NHL team from the age of 18 can create. As well, the Sabres are already looking to rebuild, so it would make full sense to bring in this youth player, and start him on the track to development to be a pillar of their defensive core moving forward.
Regardless of if Power plays this season in the NHL, AHL, or NCAA, he is still an exciting prospect. The player has a likely bright future ahead of him in hockey, with a chance for many more accolades than just his World Championship medal, as he will likely look to push for the Calder trophy when his first season in the NHL does come around. The decision would more so impact the Sabres, as they would then not have access to a stellar defenseman without negotiating a contract n the middle of the season, a move that could be costly given the injury-prone lineup that the Sabres currently possess.
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