Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News is reporting that Michigan sophomore defenseman, and number one overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, Owen Power will return to Michigan for his sophomore season, rather than signing with the Buffalo Sabres.
Power had indicated throughout the draft process this summer that he was leaning towards a return to Michigan, though saying that in the hypothetical is different than turning down real money in a contract offer.
General consensus was that the big, still developing defenseman could have used an extra year of seasoning in the college game before making the jump to the NHL, though Power’s standout performance as one of the top defensemen for Team Canada at the IIHF Men’s World Championships this summer showed that he could certainly compete at the NHL level.
But with the Buffalo Sabres likely to struggle through another lost season this year, and the University of Michigan likely to be very good this season, it makes sense for Power to have success playing a major role for a good team, rather than getting beaten up at the pro level.
Power will join Erik Johnson as the first #1 overall pick to not jump immediately to the NHL in the 21st century, and will also join Johnson as the second player to play in the NCAA after being selected as the first overall pick.
With Power back for the Wolverines, Michigan is expected to have four of the top five picks from this summer’s NHL Draft on their roster, and will likely start the season as favorites to win the Big Ten.