NHL News: Notes from the First Round of the 2021 NHL Draft

NEW YORK (July 23, 2021) – Following are notes from the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft, held virtually Friday night.


The Buffalo Sabres selected University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power first overall. The 6-6, 213 lb. Mississauga, Ont., native was the No. 1-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. Power recorded 3-13—16 in 26 games with the Wolverines during his freshman season in 2020-21.

Buffalo selected first overall for the fourth time in franchise history: Gilbert Perreault (No. 1 in 1970) was the first-ever draft pick in Sabres history and still holds franchise records for games played, goals, assists and points; Pierre Turgeon (No. 1 in 1987) ranks seventh in career points by a first overall pick (515-812—1,327); and Rasmus Dahlin (No. 1 in 2018) has led Buffalo blueliners in points in each of his first three NHL campaigns.


With their first draft pick in franchise history, the Seattle Kraken selected University of Michigan center Matthew Beniers second overall. Beniers averaged a point per game in his freshman season for the Wolverines with 10-14—24 in 24 GP and named to the Big 10 All-Rookie Team.


When the Columbus Blue Jackets selected University of Michigan center Kent Johnson with the fifth overall pick, it capped a record-breaking run for the Wolverines hockey program. For the first time in NHL Draft history, three teammates were selected among the top five picks in the same year: Owen Power (No. 1, to Buffalo), Matthew Beniers (No. 2, to Seattle) and Johnson (No. 5, to Columbus). A fourth player picked in the top five (Luke Hughes, No. 4 to New Jersey) will join the Wolverines for the 2021-22 season.

Power and Beniers become the first teammates in the modern NHL Draft to be selected 1-2 overall. There have been two previous occurrences in NHL Draft history, both more than 50 years ago. In 1963, the first draft in NHL history saw teammates Garry Monahan (No. 1 by MTL) and Peter Mahovlich (No. 2 by Detroit) selected from the St. Michael’s Juveniles. Six years later, in 1969, the top two picks were the Montreal Junior Canadiens duo of Rejean Houle (No. 1 by MTL) and Marc Tardif (No. 2 by Montreal).


The New Jersey Devils selected USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program Under-18 defenseman Luke Hughes fourth overall. Hughes joins brothers Quinn (No. 7 in 2018 to Vancouver) and Jack (No. 1 in 2019 to New Jersey) as an early first-round selection in the NHL Draft. They are the first American family with three siblings all selected in the first round of the NHL Draft.

Only two other families have had three or more siblings all taken in the first round of an NHL Draft: The Sutter family, who had four brothers qualify, including Ron (No. 4 in 1982), Rich (No. 10 in 1982), Brent (No. 17 in 1980) and Duane (No. 17 in 1979) as well as the Staal family’s trio of Jordan (No. 2 in 2006), Marc (No. 12 in 2005) and Eric (No. 2 in 2003).


* A breakdown of the first-round picks by birthplace: Canada (15), United States (8), Sweden (6), Switzerland (1) and Russia (1).

* First-round picks by amateur league: OHL (5), Sweden (5), QMJHL (4), WHL (4), BIG10 (3), USHL (3), U.S. NTDP (3), AJHL (1), GOJHL (1), Russia-2 (1) and Sweden Jr. (1).


Mason McTavish (No. 3 overall, Anaheim): His father, Dale, played nine games for the Calgary Flames in 1996-97 (1-2—3 in 9 GP) and played 14 seasons of professional hockey overseas with stops in Finland and Switzerland.

Luke Hughes (No. 4 overall, New Jersey): Two brothers were recent first-round picks in the NHL Draft: Quinn (No. 7 in 2018 w/ VAN) and Jack (No. 1 in 2019 w/ NJD). His mother, Ellen, played soccer, lacrosse and ice hockey at the University of New Hampshire and is a former member of the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team. His father, Jim, was a member of the U.S. Selects team that won the 1988 Spengler Cup and has held a number of coaching and player development positions in the NCAA, IHL, AHL and NHL.

Brandt Clarke (No. 8 overall, Los Angeles): His brother, Graeme, is a forward who was a 3rd-round pick by the Devils in the 2019 NHL Draft (80th overall) and spent the majority of the 2020-21 season with the AHL’s Binghamton Devils (8-10—18 in 31 GP).

Tyler Boucher (No. 10 overall, Ottawa): His father, Brian, is a former goaltender and current NHL analyst who competed for 13 seasons with the Flyers, Coyotes, Flames, Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Sharks and Hurricanes. He set a modern-day NHL record by posting five consecutive shutouts for Phoenix from Dec. 31, 2003 to Jan. 9, 2004.

Cole Sillinger (No. 12 overall, Columbus): His father, Mike, was a forward who skated in 1,049 career regular season games spanning 17 NHL seasons with a dozen different teams (240-308—548 in 1,049 GP). He is the only player in NHL history to play for 12 or more different franchises.

Chase Stillman (No. 29 overall, New Jersey): His brother, Riley, was a fourth-round pick by the Panthers in 2016 (114th overall) who currently plays for the Blackhawks. His father, Cory, was a first-round pick by the Flames in 1992 (No. 6 overall) who went on to record 278-449—727 in 1,025 career regular-season games with the Flames, Blues, Lightning, Hurricanes, Senators and Panthers. Cory is a two-time Stanley Cup champion (2004 w/ TBL and 2006 w/ CAR). His grandfather, Bud Stefanski, was a ninth-round selection by the Rangers in 1975 (154th overall) who also played in the IHL, AHL, CHL and Austria.

Nolan Allan (No. 32 overall, Chicago): His uncle, Chad, was a third-round pick by the Canucks in 1994 (65th overall) who played 11 seasons of professional hockey in the AHL, Germany and Austria and helped Team Canada earn a gold medal at the 1996 World Junior Championship. His uncle, Karl Taylor, served as head coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals from 2018-19 to 2019-20.


Buffalo traded D Rasmus Ristolainen to Philadelphia for D Robert Hagg, Philadelphia’s 1st-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (14th overall) and a 2nd-round pick in 2023.

NY Rangers traded RW Pavel Buchnevich to St. Louis for LW Sammy Blais and St. Louis’ 2nd-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Arizona traded D Oliver Ekman-Larsson and RW Conor Garland to Vancouver for C Jay Beagle, LW Loui Eriksson, LW Antoine Roussel, Vancouver’s 1st-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (9th overall), 2nd-round pick in 2022 and 7th-round pick in 2023.

Chicago traded D Adam Boqvist, its 1st-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (12th overall), 2nd-round pick in 2021 (44th overall) and a 1st-round pick in 2022 or 2023 to Columbus for D Seth Jones, Tampa Bay’s 1st-round pick in 2021 (previously acquired, 32nd overall) and Columbus’ 6th-round pick in 2022.

Carolina traded D Jake Bean to Columbus for Chicago’s 2nd-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (previously acquired, 44th overall).

Dallas traded its 1st-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (15th overall) to Detroit for Washington’s 1st-round pick in 2021 (previously acquired, 23rd overall), NY Rangers’ 2nd-round pick in 2021 (previously acquired, 48th overall) and Ottawa’s 5th-round pick in 2021 (previously acquired, 138th overall).

Edmonton traded its 1st-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (20th overall) to Minnesota for Minnesota’s 1st-round pick in 2021 (22nd overall) and Pittsburgh’s 3rd-round pick in 2021 (previously acquired, 90th overall).

Carolina traded its 1st-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (27th overall) to Nashville for Los Angeles’ 2nd-round pick in 2021 (previously acquired, 40th overall) and Nashville’s 2nd-round pick in 2021 (51st overall).


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