Projected No. 1 pick in NHL draft Owen Power leaning towards return to Michigan

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Michigan’s hockey team could have the No. 1 overall pick on its roster next season.

Defenseman Owen Power, who is projected to be the top pick in next month’s NHL draft, said he is strongly considering returning to the Wolverines for his sophomore season.

“I think right now I’m probably leaning more toward going back to school,” the 18-year-old told “NHL Now” on Friday. “It’s something I’d like to do, trying to get the true experience of playing college hockey. At the end of the day, it obviously depends on what the team wants and what everyone around me thinks is best. I don’t think there’s really a bad option, but I’d say I’m leaning a bit more toward going back to school right now.”

The Mississauga, Ontario native could become the fourth college player selected first overall in draft history and the first since defenseman Erik Johnson in 2006.

Power, No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters, had a solid freshman season for Michigan, which finished 15-10-1 before having to withdraw from the first round of the NCAA Tournament because of COVID-19 protocols.

He led all freshman defenseman with 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and played in all situations for the Wolverines.

“Power is an excellent package of NHL size, skating and attributes which he utilizes effectively in all situations,” NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said in a release last month. “His hockey sense is intuitive and instinctive. A very fluid and agile skater who can transition quickly on plays and separate himself from checking. He plays a mature game for his age and is at the top of this Draft class.”

Power also helped Canada win the 2021 IIHF World Championship last month with three assists during the tournament.

He is one of three Michigan players expected to be selected in the top 10 of the July 23-24 draft, joining forwards Matty Beniers and Kent Johnson. Michigan commit Luke Hughes, a right-handed defenseman, also is expected to go in the top 10.

RELATED: NHL draft rankings: Three Michigan players among top 6 North American skaters

The Buffalo Sabres own the No. 1 pick, followed by the Seattle Kraken, which will make its NHL debut next season.

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