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Owen Power, projected No. 1 NHL pick, weighing return to college

Jan 26, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; A view of a puck and the NHL logo and the face-off circle before the game between the Dallas Stars and the Detroit Red Wings at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Owen Power, the 18-year-old projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, is set to meet Thursday with the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres have the top pick, and the Michigan defenseman has caught their eye. Still, Power said Tuesday he is strongly considering whether he would sign a contract immediately after the July 23-24 draft.

“I wouldn’t say I’m committed to going back to school. I’m leaning towards it right now, but that’s obviously something I’ll have to talk to with whichever team drafts me,” he said. “I’ll be looking into it more after I get drafted.”

One of the reasons Power could choose to return to Ann Arbor is for the chance to have the traditional college experience. As a freshman last season, most of his non-hockey life came on a computer.

“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.”

If he does return to the Wolverines, Power said he plans to play professionally after the 2021-22 season.

“If I was to go back to school, I think that’s my goal … to play one more year in Michigan and then be ready to play in the NHL,” he said.

The 6-foot-5 Power could follow the lead of Cole Caufield and sign an entry-level contract after the college season.

The Montreal Canadiens selected Caufield with the No. 15 overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft and chose to play at Wisconsin. After the Badgers’ season concluded this spring, he signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Canadiens on March 28, made his NHL debut a month later, and has been key to Montreal’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.

From Mississauga, Ontario, Power scored 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 26 games at Michigan in 2020-21 and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. He was part of Canada’s title-winning team in the 2021 IIHF World Championship.

–Field Level Media