Although the 2020 NHL Draft has been pushed back due to the ever-changing circumstances revolving the COVID-19 pandemic, this hasn’t stopped many throughout the world of hockey from discussing one of the top prospects eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft. Sure, the event remains months away from occurring, however this hasn’t had an affect on the chatter revolving Owen Power — a towering young defender widely projected to challenge for the distinction of being chosen first overall in an NHL Draft.
Yet, with this being said, just who is Power and why is receiving such high praise at the tender age of 17-years-old? Well, in order to answer this question, let’s delve into Power’s playing past — doing so will allow us to piece together how he has become the dominant force which he is today.
A History of Dominance
It should come as no surprise to learn that Power has been dominating his peers for quite some time. A product of the GTHL and the Mississauga Reps’ organization, Power skated for the Reps for the majority of his minor hockey career and was quick to set himself apart from his competition. In his season of eligibility for the 2018 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, Power captained the Reps to a 22-4-7 regular season record — a mark which stood as the second best in the GTHL. As a result, Power and the Reps were able to embark upon a fairly successful postseason campaign. Although they ultimately fell to the Toronto Marlboros in the final round of the GTHL Playoffs, the Reps moved onto the 2018 OHL Cup and put forth an impressive showing — Power would record a goal and two assists during the event.
As a direct result of his steady play, the Flint Firebirds nabbed Power with the 22nd overall selection in the 2018 Priority Selection — a slot much lower than many had predicted, as there were rumblings Power could opt to follow the USHL and NCAA route. Not surprisingly Power was chosen by the Chicago Steel in the 2018 USHL Futures Draft roughly a month later, a choice which essentially cemented Power’s move to the United States given he was the third player chosen in the event.
So, come the 2019-20 campaign, Power took his talents to the USHL and the Steel. To no one’s surprise Power made an immediate impact, stabilizing the Steel in their defensive end while helping to fuel their offensive attack in turn. By the time COVID-19 reared its ugly head and forced the cancellation of the USHL season, Power had collected 12 goals and 40 points across his 45 regular season games played as a rookie — an output which illustrated Power’s ability to transition to a higher difficulty of play without issue. In the process, Power had put the USHL and the hockey world as a whole on notice. In fact, not only was he named as a First-Team All Star but Power was also chosen as the USHL’s Defenceman of the Year — joining the likes of Neil Pionk, Brandon Montour and John Moore as recent recipient’s of the distinction.
A Powerful Scouting Report
As we’ve seen, Power has a glaring track record of success and has only continued to strengthen his respective game with each passing season. Yet, what does Power bring to the ice which makes him such a dominant force in today’s game, you ask?
Well, for Power, his game revolves largely around his size and physicality. At the age of just 17-years, Power already stands 6-foot-5 and tips the scale at 210-pounds — an impressive frame for a player of his age. This fortunate frame has allowed Power to dominate less physically mature opponents everywhere he has played and has unquestionably allowed him to thrive and develop with a much greater level of consistency than his peers. However, Power is far more than simply a big body, as the native of Mississauga, Ontario has honed his physicality and developed an understanding of how to use it as a part of his much larger skill set on the ice. Rather than attempting to rag-doll his opponents, Power is calculative and precise with his physical exertion — opting to separate attackers from the puck in order to gain possession for his team.
Moreover, Power is a smooth-skating and fleet-footed defenceman despite his size. Unlike many hulking defenders who sacrifice foot-speed for strength, Power has come to boast the best of both attributes and can take his opposition by surprise as a result. Rarely beaten to pucks within his own zone and no slouch when it comes to joining the rush, Power can accelerate to his top speed relatively quickly and is downright difficult to stop once he builds a significant amount of momentum passing through the neutral zone. Perhaps the area of the ice where Power’s agility is most notable comes below his own goal line — Power can stick with and smother opposing forwards with ease and out-race them to loose pucks as they occur.
Where Power’s game has grown the most in recent years comes in the offensive zone. While he appeared somewhat hesitant to shoot the puck during his U16 season with the Reps, Power has worked on his shot and improved it dramatically — as was abundantly clear during his rookie USHL campaign with the Steel. More confident in his shot and release, Power routinely displayed the ability to put the puck on net from the blue line with poise, velocity and consistency. Capable of creating shooting lanes and finding seams to the net, Power has developed into a versatile threat from the back-end owing to his ability to shoot the puck as well as play-make.
Perhaps the most important facets of Power’s game are his on-ice intelligence and composure with the puck, as these abilities are what truly set Power apart from his competition on a nightly basis. While most players often make accurate decisions with the puck, Power routinely makes calculated and precise decisions on the ice — and with a level of consistency which stands far above his peers. This level of on-ice intelligence allows Power to out-think and out-smart his opponents each time he takes to the ice, as the youngster scarcely makes mistakes and displays the ability to control and distribute the puck with absolute confidence and absolute ease.
What Lays Ahead?
For Power, his future in the game of hockey is exceedingly bright.
Provided the 2020-21 NCAA season will take place despite COVID-19, Power is slated to suit up for the University of Michigan — a school which has had an immense amount of success of late with respect to drawing high-end NHL prospects. Among these notable commitments poised to play alongside Power is Brendan Brisson — a teammate of Power’s with the Steel this past season who is currently projected to be chosen in the second-round of the 2020 NHL Draft. However, when the time comes for Power to walk across the NHL Draft stage, many are predicting that the youngster will be amongst the first few players selected in the 2021 event.
The fact that Power could become one of the NHL’s next top-defenders goes without saying — a sentiment which was echoed by Craig Button of TSN late last year as he forecasted the prospect class eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft. In Button’s early look at the 2021 class, he projected Power to be chosen second overall behind Finish-born sensation Aatu Raty — a reality which would see Power be the first defenceman selected in the Draft. Although Brandt Clarke of the Barrie Colts and future University of Michigan teammate Luke Hughes will certainly challenge Power for the distinction, the youngster’s raw power, intelligence, and ability to thrive at both ends of the ice could prove far too lucrative for NHL organizations to pass upon.