Does Owen Power and Buffalo Fit
Does Owen Power and Buffalo Fit? The defenseman is the consensus number one pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, but is the dumpster fire that is the Buffalo Sabres the right place for him? Photo: EyesWideOpen/ Getty Images

Does Owen Power and Buffalo fit? NHL 2021 Draft Preview

The consensus number one pick in the 2021 NHL Draft is Owen Power. The Ontario native defenseman has all the tools to make an immediate impact in the National Hockey League, mainly due to a high hockey IQ. At 6’5” and 214 lbs Power won’t be pushed around, even at the tender age of 18 years old. In this article we won’t be discussing IF Power will be drafted number one overall in the 2021 NHL Draft but rather should the Buffalo Sabres pick him as the very first pick. Does Owen Power and Buffalo fit?

Of course, the easy answer is yes. When you’re as good as Power you can be a fit anywhere, but let’s face it the Buffalo Sabres are a complete dumpster fire. Superstar center Jack Eichel has been rumored to be unhappy and could be on the move this offseason while fellow forward Sam Reinhart could soon follow. Jeff Skinner is still there on a ridiculous contract but was also healthy scratched this past season so hopes are not exactly high that he could be a replacement for either if they leave. 

All this could lead to Buffalo leaning towards a forward with their draft pick. While Power is the consensus number one pick, the drop-off to University of Michigan forward Matthew Beniers or William Eklund of Djurgardens IF in the Swedish SHL is minimal. Eliteprospects.com had both ahead of Power in their May rankings. If Buffalo feels a forward is the way to go in the lead up to the 2021 Draft either of those two could find themselves leapfrogging Power to the number one spot.

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Beniers racked up 24 points in 24 games in the NCAA playing alongside Power in Michigan and is a reliable two way forward. While his skating doesn’t jump off the page it also won’t hinder his chances of playing at the very top level, meanwhile his forechecking and faceoff abilities could mean he goes straight into an NHL second or third line. At 6’1” and 174 lbs the forward still has a lot of filling out to do which means he would be an ideal fit to go back to Michigan for another year. This would allow him to hit the gym during the week before playing every weekend.

While Beniers would have to hit the very peak of his ceiling to be a top-line center, the chances he becomes a top-end 2C is well within the realms of possibilities with the right Development plan put in place. That could be a problem for the Buffalo Sabres who may feel forced to insert whomever they draft straight into their lineup, especially if Eichel and Reinhart head to the exit. That would be detrimental to Beniers’ development, but considering what the Sabres franchise currently looks like this would be very on point for them.

Therefore if it’s the finished product the Buffalo Sabres are looking for it wouldn’t be totally out of the blue if they selected William Eklund first overall. The 5’10” 172 lbs forward has played over 60 pro games already with Djurgardens IF after coming up through their youth system and was on fire during the last campaign with 14 points in 19 games to start the season. While that pace didn’t continue the 18-year-old still finished with 23 points in 40 games at a pro-level.

A player who likes to drive the play Eklund would need to work on his shooting and defensive game, but neither are glaring holes in his game. His pace, edges, and hockey IQ just become that much more obvious when in the offensive zone. Also, with pro games already behind him, albeit in the SHL, he could be a perfect pick to slot right in beside Jack Eichel if the Sabres can convince their star player to stick around.

While the high-end talents of a Conor McDavid might not be available in the 2021 NHL Draft, the Buffalo Sabres still have a ton of options. The Owen Power and Buffalo fit might not be what suits best, but that won’t mean Power isn’t the best player in the draft. As far as upside he certainly has all the tools to be and let’s face it, Power may be better off not going to Buffalo. 

It is every kid’s dream to be drafted first overall, no matter what sport you play, and it will be no different for Owen Power. However, it might benefit the two-way defenseman to lose out on that honor and possibly end up in Seattle with the newly formed Kraken. That would become his team, especially if he stuck around, and the chances of him becoming a legend increase tenfold. Or he could end up like the quickly forgotten Rasmus Dahlin in the dumpster fire known as the Buffalo Sabres.

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