Power goes 1st
by Andrew Podnieks|24 JUL 2021
As expected by many, Owen Power (25) was drafted first a few weeks after helping Canada win the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
photo: Chris Tanouye / HHOF-IIHF Images
As expected, Canada’s Owen Power was selected 1st overall by Buffalo in last night’s first round of the NHL Entry Draft. The 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ontario, played 2020/21 with the University of Michigan, but more significantly he was sensational on the Canadian blue line at the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Riga, helping Canada win gold.

Power was one of 17 Canadians selected in the first round. Incredibly, seven of that number played for Canada and won gold at the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Texas. The Americans had seven first-rounders and Sweden six. Russia had one. Only three NCAA players were selected, but they all were from the University of Michigan, and they all went in the first five choices. 
Selecting 2nd overall was the expansion Seattle Kraken, and they, too, took a young star from the World Championship who came from the same U of M team as Power: Matty Beniers of Hingham, Massachusetts. Beniers won gold with the American World Junior team in January, then won bronze at the Worlds, displaying tremendous puck smarts along the way. 

Mason McTavish, who was born in Switzerland and spent last season there with the OHL season wiped out, had a sensational U18 tournament with Canada and was selected by Anaheim 3rd overall.

In 4th spot, Luke Hughes was taken by New Jersey and in so doing made NHL draft history. His older brothers Quinn and Jack, among the league’s finest young players, were also selected top-10, marking the first time in NHL history three brothers went in the top 10.

When Canadian Kent Johnson was selected 5th by Columbus, more history was made. He, too, played for the Wolverines, marking the first time one NCAA college team provided the draft with three players in the top five.

Simon Edvinsson of Sweden was selected 6th overall by Detroit, a team Edvinsson couldn’t have been happier to be with. A great admirer of Nicklas Lidstrom, the hulking Edvinsson now joins GM Steve Yzerman’s team hoping to be “Nick” 2.0.

Another Swede went 7th when William Eklund was selected by San Jose. A forward with Djurgarden, he isn’t the biggest player, but he has skill and promise in spades.

Brandt Clarke had an outstanding U18 tournament with Canada a few months ago, helping the team win gold, and he was taken 8th by Los Angeles. Because of the pandemic, the Ottawa native played in Slovakia last year, with HC Nove Zamky, one of several prospects to look farther afield than usual for playing time when the Canadian junior leagues were shut down.

Arizona selected 9th overall as a result of a massive trade earlier in the day. Vancouver traded that 9th pick along with a 2nd-round selection in 2022, a 7th rounder in 2023, and players Jay Beagle, Louis Eriksson, and Antoine Roussel. Going to the Canucks was Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland.

Ottawa selected Tyler Boucher 10th from the U.S. National Team Development Program, adding to the huge swath of young talent on a Sens team that showed significant signs of improvement during the last season, despite missing the playoffs again.

The Coyotes were forced to give up their 11th overall selection and another in the second round because of a violation of the NHL’s Combine Testing Policy.

Columbus picked up Chicago’s 12th choice because of another impactful deal today. In that one, the Blue Jackets trade stud defenceman Seth Jones and two draft choices to the ‘Hawks for Adam Boqvist and two other draft choices. The Jackets used the selection to take forward Cole Sillinger of the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. 

Calgary, in the 13th slot, took another USHL player, Matthew Coronato, of the Chicago Steel. 

Buffalo scooped the 14th selection from Philadelphia as a result of another large trade in which the Sabres sent Rasmus Ristolainen to the Flyers for Robert Hagg, this selection, and a 2nd-rounder in 2023. It was a deal the Sabres could afford to make because they knew that despite losing a great blueliner in Ristolainen, they were getting another in Power. The Sabres used the selection to take another Swede, Isak Rosen, who led Sweden with seven goals at the 2021 U18.

Picking 15th, the Dallas Stars made the first in-draft trade, sending that pick over to Detroit for three later picks in this draft – 23rd, 48th, and 138th. The Red Wings then selected Sebastian Cossa from the WHL, the first goalie taken in this year’s draft.

The New York Rangers were in slot number 16 and took another member of Canada’s U18 team, left winger Brennan Othmann, who with McTavish played for Olten in the Swiss League this past season.

Zachary Bolduc went next, at 17th, to St. Louis, the first player from the QMJHL taken so far.

A teammate of Boucher went at number 18 when the Winnipeg Jets claimed Chaz Lucius, a centre with the USNTDP in Plymouth, Michigan.

Nashville was in the 19th position and took the first and only Russian, centreman Fyodor Svechkov, who also played at the U18 and helped his team win silver.

The Edmonton Oilers, swept by Winnipeg in the first round of last year’s playoffs, had the 20th selection, and they used it to trade to Minnesota for the 22nd and 90th selections. The Wild quickly announced the name Jesper Wallstedt, the second goalie and a puckstopper with tremendous upside. He played on the 2021 World Junior team for Sweden as well as with his club team Lulea.

Moments later the Boston Bruins took Wallstedt’s teammate in Lulea, right winger Fabian Lysell, who won bronze at the U18 with Sweden. 

Edmonton had the belated 22nf pick after the deal a few minutes earlier with Minnesota, and this time GM Ken Holland took Xavier Bourgault from Shawinigan of the Q. Up next was Dallas, and the Stars took Wyatt Johnston, another member of that U18 gold-medal team from Canada. 

In the 24th position, Florida selected Mackie Samoskevich from the Chicago Steel of the USHL. Columbus had the 25th pick and selected Canadian Corson Ceulemans, a defenceman with that U18 team who was named after Shane Corson. Minnesota, with its second pick of the opening round, followed by taking another Canadian, Carson Lambos, 26th overall from the WHL. 

Nashville took Zachary L’Heureux with their 27th selection, and Colorado had Oskar Oluasson in 28th. New Jersey took another Canadian who played overseas this past year, claiming Corey Stillman’s son, Chase, who played in Denmark last year.

And then the Q claimed its fourth pick of the last 14 selections when Vegas took Zach Dean of Gatineau with the 30th selection.

But no one could have imagined what Montreal would do with number 31. GM Marc Bergevin announced the name Logan Mailloux, a name that has stirred no small amount of controversy in the last month. Just a few days ago, Mailloux used Twitter to ask teams not to draft him because, in his words, “I don’t feel I have demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege in the 2021 draft.” The reason: He was convicted in Sweden of crimes related to distributing a photo of him and a girl in a sex act, without her consent.

Chicago closed out the first round by selecting Nolan Allan from Prince Albert.