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Owen Power, the top prospect and projected No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft, may not be making the leap to the pros right away in a rare move.
The 6-foot-6, 213-pound defenseman discussed on Tuesday whether he wants to potentially play in the NHL during the 2021-22 season or return to play another year at the University of Michigan, and his response may not exactly be the one NHL — and Sabres — fans wanted to hear.
“I wouldn’t say I’m committed to going back to school. I mean, I’m probably leaning towards it right now,” the 18-year-old said.
Power added to his response, stating why he’d like to return to Ann Arbor this upcoming fall.
“I think it would be pretty special. Just actually going to class and not do it online,” he said. “Just being able to do stuff other than go to the rink and home, I think would be something that I would like to do.”
Of course, during Power’s first year at the University of Michigan, classes were altered due to COVID-19.
In addition to these comments, Power noted that he won’t make his final decision until after the NHL Draft, and will discuss his playing options for next season with the team that selects him.
Unlike other pro sports like basketball and football, the NHL and NCAA allow drafted players to return to school and play, rather than giving up their eligibility. So Power can still be drafted by an NHL organization and remain a part of the franchise while playing hockey at the University of Michigan.
This is a pretty unique situation, however, as not a single No. 1 selection has returned to college instead of turning pro since the draft was implemented in 1963.
Power is the No. 1 ranked North American skater according to the NHL’s 2021 draft prospects rankings.
The Buffalo Sabres currently hold the No. 1 pick, with the expansion Seattle Kraken set to select second.
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