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Sabres pack a punch by picking Power first in NHL draft

·2-min read
The Buffalo Sabres used the first pick in the 2021 NHL entry draft to select Canada's Owen Power

The Buffalo Sabres selected Canadian defenseman Owen Power with the first overall pick in the National Hockey League entry draft on Friday.

This is the second time in four years the Sabres have had the top pick and both times they used it to draft a big defenseman. In 2018, they selected Rasmus Dahlin.

The 18-year-old Power helped Canada win the gold medal at the 2021 IIHF World Championships in Latvia.

He played last season for the University of Michigan where he finished with 13 assists and 16 points in 26 games. Power is the first US college player to be selected five overall since Erik Johnson in 2006.

He's the fourth defenseman selected No. 1 overall in the past 25 years, joining Dahlin, Johnson and Aaron Ekblad (2014).

Power, of Toronto, was the consensus first overall pick, despite NHL scouts saying this year's draft was different because Covid-19 restrictions made it difficult for them to travel and watch prospects in person. The draft was held virtually for the second straight year.

The league's newest franchise, the Seattle Kraken, chose second, taking Power's Michigan teammate Matthew Beniers of the United States.

The Anaheim Ducks used the third pick to select center Mason McTavish of Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League and the New Jersey Devils picked defenseman Luke Hughes fourth. The Columbus Blue Jackets rounded out the top five by choosing Canadian forward Kent Johnson.

Power was one of five Canadians taken with the top ten picks. The top ten list also included three Americans and two Swedes.

There was plenty of player movement in the build up to the draft, with the Vancouver Canucks making the biggest splash by acquiring veteran defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes in a deal that included both players and draft picks.

The deal allowed Arizona to select ninth overall, while Vancouver got Ekman-Larsson and forward Conor Garland. The Coyotes also received Canucks forwards Jay Beagle, Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel, plus the club's second-round pick in 2022 and its seventh-round selection in 2023.

The Columbus Blue Jackets also agreed to trade defenseman Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

gph/sw

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