The Buffalo Sabres chosen College of Michigan defenseman Owen Energy with the primary decide within the NHL Draft on Friday evening.
Energy, 18, was the No. 1 ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. His choice marks simply the fourth time in NHL historical past that an NCAA participant has gone first general, becoming a member of ahead Joe Murphy (1986, Detroit Red Wings), goalie Rick DiPietro (2000, New York Islanders) and defenseman Erik Johnson (2006, St. Louis Blues).
The 6-foot-6 defenseman is the second blueliner the Sabres have taken first general within the final 4 drafts, becoming a member of 2018 No. 1 decide Rasmus Dahlin. Energy is simply the third defenseman to be drafted first general since 2007.
Energy performed 26 video games for Michigan as a freshman final season, tallying 16 factors. A local of Mississauga, Ontario, he appeared in 10 video games for Crew Canada on the IIHF world championships, enjoying alongside NHL gamers. His mobility and measurement have earned him comparisons to Tampa Bay Lightning star Victor Hedman.
“He is coachable. He at all times desires extra data. He by no means ever thinks he is above something. He simply desires increasingly and extra so he can examine and turn out to be higher, and turn out to be nice,” mentioned Ryan Hardy, who was the overall supervisor of the USHL Chicago Metal when Energy performed for them. “When you will have that mindset with that body? That is the Owen Energy draft. I do not suppose lots of people understand how good he’s.”
When Energy would possibly present as much as play for the Sabres hasn’t been decided but. The defenseman mentioned that, ideally, he’d prefer to return to Michigan for at the least a yr after his first season there was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That is one of many huge elements of why I need to return to highschool. To expertise the true faculty expertise at Michigan, particularly at Yost [arena] with the followers there and the whole lot. To go to lessons and never do the whole lot on-line. To have the ability to do stuff in addition to go to the rink after which go dwelling,” he mentioned.
Energy’s choice was the beginning of what changed into a historic evening for Michigan hockey. The enlargement Seattle Kraken adopted by selecting Wolverines middle Matthew Beniers at No. 2. It marked the primary time since 1969 that faculty teammates went with the primary two alternatives.
Three picks later, Michigan grew to become faculty hockey’s first program to have three teammates go within the first spherical after the Columbus Blue Jackets chosen Wolverines winger Kent Johnson fifth.
“Extraordinarily excited for Owen, Matty and their households. It is already a terrific evening for Michigan Hockey. Go Blue,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson texted to The Related Press after the Kraken made their choice.
That is not all, nonetheless. Luke Hughes, who’s dedicated to enjoying at Michigan, was chosen fourth general by the the Devils, the place the defenseman is united with brother Jack, who was the No. 1 decide within the 2019 draft.
Ontario junior middle Mason McTavish was the one participant with out Michigan ties to spherical out the highest 5, after he was chosen third general by the Anahiem Geese.
The Related Press contributed to this report.