Buffalo Sabres defenseman Owen Power got his first taste of NHL action in tonight’s matchup vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs. So how did he fare?
The Buffalo Sabres realized the future is now for their defensive unit, with Owen Power completing a lineup that contained six defensemen aged 25 and under in their big win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mostly pairing with Henri Jokiharju on the second line, Power rarely had the luxury of lining up next to the team’s All-Star player, Rasmus Dahlin.
It’s clear head coach Don Granato wanted to see what Power could do when forced to hold his own, so pairing the rookie with the less effective Jokiharju made sense. So how did Power hold up his end of the deal?
Grading Buffalo Sabres defensemen’s NHL debut
It didn’t take the Leafs long to pick on Power, who faced a two-on-one from the lethal duo of Mark Giordano and Austin Matthews. Power, however, disrupted Giordano’s pass to Matthews, immediately demonstrating the speed of the game was not beyond him.
And for Power, it gave him an opportunity to see how well he stacked up against one of the NHL’s best players, who also happens to be one of his favorite. Here is what he had to say following the game:
“It was pretty cool. Someone I’ve watched since he’s been in the league and been one of my favorite players to watch as a fan. He’s definitely impressive. Just a lot of fun to be out there with him.” – via Buffalo Hockey Beat
Power logged 19 minutes and 50 seconds of ice time against Toronto, recording his first takeaway, hit, and block. He also had a +/- of 2. Displaying a calm demeanor throughout the contest, Power looked as though he belonged.
Now, the real test begins for Power. It’s common to see top picks log solid debuts. Opponents have no NHL film on them and they have no clue how coaching staffs plan on using their rookies. So the real challenge for Power begins tomorrow night against the St. Louis Blues.
But let’s not spoil the fun. For a kid playing in his final college hockey game just a week ago, he looked great. We will give him a passing grade against Toronto. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.