July 23 (UPI) -- The Buffalo Sabres selected University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft on Friday night.
The 18-year-old Power was the top-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. He joined forward Joe Murphy (Detroit Red Wings, 1986), goalie Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders, 2000) and defenseman Erik Johnson (St. Louis Blues, 2006) as the only NCAA players in history to be taken first overall in the draft.
Power, listed at 6-foot-6, is the second defenseman that Buffalo has grabbed at No. 1 overall in the past four drafts, joining 2018 top pick Rasmus Dahlin. Power also is just the third blueliner to be drafted first overall since 2007.
Power recorded 16 points over 26 games for the Wolverines as a freshman last season. A native of Mississauga, Ontario, he played in 10 games for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships, competing alongside NHL players.
It remains unclear when Power will show up to play for the Sabres. The defenseman previously said he'd prefer to return to Michigan for at least a year after his freshman season was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"That's one of the big parts of why I want to go back to school," Power said. "To experience the true college experience at Michigan, especially at Yost [Ice Arena] with the fans there and everything. To go to classes and not do everything online. To be able to do stuff besides go to the rink and then go home."
With the second pick, the expansion Seattle Kraken selected Michigan center Matthew Beniers. His selection marked the first time since 1969 that college teammates went with the first two choices.
At No. 3, the Anaheim Ducks took Ontario junior center Mason McTavish. Defenseman Luke Hughes, who is committed to play at Michigan, was taken fourth overall by the New Jersey Devils.
The Columbus Blue Jackets then grabbed Michigan winger Kent Johnson with the fifth pick, as the Wolverines became college hockey's first program to have three teammates go in the first round.