Owen Power will return to Michigan after going No. 1 overall in the 2021 NHL Draft. Miles Macklin/Daily.  Buy this photo.

Owen Power is not having the summer of a typical 18-year-old. 

The Michigan defenseman already won a gold medal for Team Canada at the World Championships last month. He’s now in the thick of the NHL draft process, where recent projections indicate he could be the number one overall pick when the draft takes place on July 22. 

An average day for the Michigan defenseman consists of getting up early to work out, getting in some skating at the ice rink, and then participating in pre-draft interviews with numerous NHL teams. When he has free time, Power will go play some golf or basketball to relax.   

“I haven’t been too busy where I can’t handle it,” Power said. “It’s been a good balance of just being busy, but not too busy.”

The draft buzz around Power has existed since he set foot on Michigan’s campus. At 6-5 and 214 pounds, he’s a big-bodied defenseman who NHL scouts are raving over. He proved the hype was warranted throughout his freshman year, contributing on both ends of the ice. He finished his collegiate season with 3 goals and 13 assists and a plus-minus of +20, while on the defensive end he had 40 blocked shots — the most on the team. He was also a finalist for Big Ten Freshman of the Year. 

NHL franchises should be lining up to select a player with Power’s abilities. The fact that he doesn’t turn 19 until November is an added bonus, as he has the potential to become an even better hockey player. When he’s talking with teams, though, hockey is actually a topic that doesn’t always come up. 

“I think a lot of (teams want to know) about my personality, what I do when I’m not playing hockey and different things like that,” Power said. “Pretty much every team just asked about what I do off the ice and then about my family, my parents and my siblings and what they’re like and what they do for a living, other sports they play and just different things like that.”

Interestingly, one team Power hasn’t interviewed with yet is the Buffalo Sabres, who hold the number one pick in the draft. Wherever Power does end up, Wolverine fans will be monitoring whether he decides to go straight to the NHL or come back for another season at Michigan.

One factor that could push Power to come back is the sheer amount of talent on the Wolverines roster. While Power will likely be the first Michigan player to hear his name called, he’ll be far from the only top-ten pick. Freshman forwards Matty Beniers and Kent Johnson are also expected to go in the top ten, as well as incoming freshman defenseman Luke Hughes. 

On paper, the Wolverines could arguably have the most talented roster in all of college hockey — and a legit shot at winning the national championship. 

“It would be awesome,” Power said “We got so many good guys and such a close group and we’re gonna have a really good shot of winning the national championship with the team we have. So being able to play with Luke and all the other guys would be pretty special.”

Power may have played a full season at Michigan, but he has yet to experience a true home game. Playing in front of a packed Yost Arena, while being a part of such a talented team, may be an opportunity Power can’t pass up. It will be a decision that won’t be made until after he’s been drafted, but as of now he’s still leaning towards returning for sophomore year.

“What the team that picks me thinks, what my family and my advisors think, that’ll be a conversation,” Power said “But I think just the opportunity to win at Michigan and kind of get a true college experience is all something that’s going to factor in.”