Defender Owen Power, the top-ranked prospect in the NHL draft, is leaning toward staying in school and playing his second season at Michigan next year rather than turning pro.
“I wouldn’t say I’m committed to going back to school. I mean, I’m probably leaning towards that right now.” Power said during a Zoom call with the top-ranked draft prospects on Tuesday.
Power added that he won’t make a decision until after the draft, noting that he wants to consult with the team that selects him first.
The 6-foot-6, 213-pound player from Mississauga, Ontario is the top-ranked North American skater from the NHL Central Bureau of Scouting entering the two-day draft, which begins July 23 and will take place from remotely for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The office scouting report credits Power for being intuitive and for his fluid and agile skating ability that allows him to transition quickly.
“Power is an excellent package of NHL size, skating and attributes, which it uses effectively in all situations,” the report reads. “He’s playing a mature game for his age and he’s at the top of this draft class.”
The Buffalo Sabers have the first pick for the second time in four years after winning the draft lottery, and they are followed by the 32nd NHL franchise expansion Seattle Kraken.
Power said he is scheduled to meet with the Sabers on Thursday and has already met with the Kraken.
Two of the Power Wolverines teammates are included in the top six of the North American standings, with center Kent Johnson in third place and center Matthew Beniers in sixth place.
Defender Luke Hughes, who is committed to playing for Michigan next year, ranks fourth. Hughes is the younger brother of New Jersey forward Jack Hughes, the No. 1 in the 2019 draft, and Vancouver defender Quinn Hughes, the seventh overall pick in 2018.
Canadian youth center Mason McTavish, who played in Switzerland last year, is the second-ranked North American skater.
Central Scouting’s top European prospect is Swedish center William Eklund.
Power was a rookie pick from the Big Ten after scoring three goals and adding 13 assists for 16 points in 26 games. However, Michigan’s season ended abruptly when the No. 2-seeded Wolverines were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament following positive COVID-19 test results.
The 18-year-old Power’s season continued after he was selected to represent eventual champion Canada at the world championships in Latvia in May and June. Power’s role increased throughout the tournament and he finished with three assists in 10 games.
One reason I’d prefer to return to Michigan is the opportunity to enjoy a college year without COVID limitations, including playing in front of fans at Yost Arena.
“I think it would be very special. Just go to class and not do it online,” Power said. “Just being able to do other things besides going to the track and home, I think it would be something I would like to do.”