Mississauga’s Owen Power drafted No. 1 overall by NHL’s Buffalo Sabres

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Published July 24, 2021 at 12:23 am

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Owen Power, the highly touted and towering defenceman from Mississauga by way of the University of Michigan, joined the roll call of NHL first overall picks on Friday.

The Buffalo Sabres selected the 18-year-old Power, who played youth hockey with the Mississauga Reps through the end of his under-16 year, with the No. 1 choice. There was speculation throughout the day that the Sabres, drafting first for the second time in four years, were also weighing the merits forward William Eklund from Djurgardens in the Swedish Hockey League, as well as Power’s Michigan teammates, centres Matthew Beniers and Kent Johnson.

Beniers was taken second overall by the Seattle Kraken.

Power, who is 6-foot-6 and 213 pounds, is an all-around defenceman who is projected to become a first-pairing cornerstone for an NHL franchise. He is an exceptionally fluid skater who can carry the puck out of his defensive zone by using his smooth stride and long reach to elude checkers. He has also earned strong notices for the way he retrieves pucks and initiates counter-attacks.

Last season, as an 18-year-old freshman with the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA’s Big Ten hockey conference, Power scored three goals and 16 points across 26 games. After his college season, he helped Canada win the gold medal at the world men’s hockey championship in Latvia.

Prior to joining Michigan, Power spent two seasons with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. In his second season, he was honoured as the USHL’s defenceman of the year after helping the Steel win the league regular-season title and boast the best power play in the league.

Power is the second Mississauga native to go first overall in the draft in the last 13 years. Current Toronto Maple Leafs centre and captain John Tavares, who was born in Mississauga and raised in Oakville, was taken No. 1 by the New York Islanders in 2009.

Tavares spent some of his early years of minor hockey in Mississauga before moving to the Toronto Marlboros organization in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. Power played with the Reps until he was old enough to move up the junior level.

Power is the first defenceman from a U.S. college team to be drafted first overall. The only other No. 1 picks who played in the NCAA in their draft years were centre Joe Murphy (1986, Detroit Red Wings, from Michigan State) and goalie Rick DiPietro (2000, New York Islanders, from Boston University).

The list of current NHL stars who were chosen No. 1 overall includes Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Auston Matthews and Marc-André Fleury.

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