One of the most exciting dates in the NHL calendar is almost upon us, the 2021 NHL draft. The Buffalo Sabres while hosting the worst record in the league this last season are looking comfortably at this draft from their No. 1 spot as the best shot to land what could be the next big breakthrough star in the league. While NHL odds experts have been cracking down who some of the top prospects going into the draft might be, here are our choices for the top 5 best prospects that could easily be taken at No. 1 by Buffalo.
- Owen Power, Defenseman, University of Michigan
If there’s a prospect who can boast about being the almost unanimous pick by NHL scouts around the league it’s Canadian defenseman Owen Power. While there are rumors swirling around that the Michigan Wolverine defenseman Power could be leaning towards going back to school to play in his sophomore year instead of jumping to the pros there is no denying that Power is by far the best prospect to pick at No. 1 here.
Defensemen with a skill set as good as the one that Power offers are hard to come by and with his vision for the game as well as strength and the fact that he is still only 18 years old makes him an undeniably attractive option for Buffalo at No. 1. If that doesn’t make him the top prospect, just the fact that his last name is Power should be enough to make him a top pick candidate.
- Matt Beniers, Center, University of Michigan
Yes, another Michigan Wolverine makes the list with center Matt Beniers. Beniers has been regarded as the most pro ready player entering this year’s draft and whose impact could be immediate for any team that picks him. At just 18 years old, the left-handed center already knows what it’s like to hang with the big boys after being offered the opportunity to play for Team USA at the World Championships where he shined just like in his playing days for the Wolverines in Michigan.
Beniers’ attention to detail, the speed he can get on his shot as well as just how easily scoring points come to him make him a sure hit pick. Whoever ends up picking Beniers will surely be picking a player with potential to wear a letter sooner rather than later. If Power does decide to skip the draft and go back to Michigan for his sophomore season, expect Beniers to go as the top pick in the draft to Buffalo.
- Simon Edvinsson, Defenseman, Sweden
Our favorite top international prospect for this year’s NHL draft is Swedish defenseman Simon Edvinsson. Edvinsson can probably brag about being the best all-around skater in the whole draft and at just 17 years old he already has the feel of what it’s like to play in the pros as he played for the Frolunda squad in the Swedish Hockey League, aka the Swedish pro league.
His 6’5, almost 210-pound frame is one that will cause havoc for opponents, especially with the physical aspect that he is known to bring to his game. His shot is superb as well as his mobility and skating skills, putting him right up there as the best international prospect entering this year’s draft.
- Brandt Clarke, Defenseman, OHL
If there’s a player that has flown under the radar defensively but still deserves all the praise and hype that a top prospect could get, it’s Canadian defenseman Brandt Clarke. At only 17 years old, the Canadian already knows what it’s like to play pro caliber hockey after playing on loan with the Nove Zamsky squad of the Slovak Extraliga, Slovakia’s top hockey league.
His right-handed shot as well as his ability to move the puck down the ice make him an excellent passer and playmaker that any team would love to have. He has all the right tools to come into any team and start dishing out results from the get go and will most definitely be one of the first players to go in the draft.
- Luke Hughes, Defenseman, University of Michigan
You know we had to close off this list with yet another Michigan Wolverine. Now, if you have two brothers who already play in the NHL, Jack Hughes and Quinn Hughes, it would only make sense for you to make it a trio of hockey pros in the family, right? Well that’s the case with defenseman Luke Hughes. Luke Hughes is slated to follow in his brothers’ footsteps and could even look into joining either Quinn in Vancouver or Jack in New Jersey.
Luke comes into the draft as a top class skater, with amazing playmaking skills and tons of confidence. He is a solid puck mover with a great quick release and an ability to score points that make him an obvious pick to go with very early in the draft. The Hughes family has proven that top quality hockey skills run through their veins so taking Luke is a very easy choice here.