The Buffalo Sabres opened the 2021 NHL draft in predictable fashion Friday night. They took Michigan defenseman Owen Power, projected by most to be the top player in the class, with the first pick, marking their second No. 1 overall selection in four years.
After that, 30 more players were drafted in the first round. There were trades, some surprises and many top prospects coming off the board. As always, it was an exciting night that provided a glimpse into the future of the NHL.
Now it's time for the rest of the draft to take place. Rounds 2-7 will occur Saturday, and the event will continue to be held in a virtual format. While a lot of top players have already been drafted, there's still plenty of talent available for the final six rounds. B/R's Adam Herman highlighted 10 as-yet undrafted players worth keeping an eye on.
Here's everything you need to know heading into Day 2 of the draft, followed by the results from the opening round.
NHL Draft Day 2 Information
Date: Saturday, July 24
Start Time: 11 a.m. ET
TV: NHL Network
Round 2 Order
33. Buffalo Sabres
34. Anaheim Ducks
35. Seattle Kraken
36. Vegas Golden Knights (from New Jersey Devils)
37. Arizona Coyotes (from Columbus Blue Jackets, via Ottawa Senators)
38. Detroit Red Wings
39. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose Sharks)
40. Carolina Hurricanes (from Nashville Predators, via Los Angeles Kings)
41. Vancouver Canucks
42. Ottawa Senators
43. Arizona Coyotes
44. Carolina Hurricanes (from Columbus Blue Jackets, via Chicago Blackhawks)
45. Calgary Flames
46. Philadelphia Flyers
47. Dallas Stars
48. Dallas Stars (from Detroit Red Wings, via New York Rangers)
49. Los Angeles Kings (from St. Louis Blues, via Buffalo Sabres and Vegas Golden Knights)
50. Winnipeg Jets
51. Carolina Hurricanes (from Nashville Predators)
52. New York Islanders (from Detroit Red Wings, via Edmonton Oilers)
53. Buffalo Sabres (from Boston Bruins)
54. Minnesota Wild
55. Washington Capitals
56. Florida Panthers
57. Toronto Maple Leafs
58. Pittsburgh Penguins
59. Carolina Hurricanes
60. Arizona Coyotes (from New York Islanders, via Colorado Avalanche)
61. Colorado Avalanche (from New Jersey Devils, via New York Islanders)
62. Chicago Blackhawks (from Vegas Golden Knights)
63. Montreal Canadiens
64. Montreal Canadiens (from Tampa Bay Lightning)
Complete Day 2 order available at NHL.com.
Round 1 Results
1. Buffalo Sabres: Owen Power, D, Michigan
2. Seattle Kraken: Matthew Beniers, C, Michigan
3. Anaheim Ducks: Mason McTavish, C, Peterborough (OHL)
4. New Jersey Devils: Luke Hughes, D, USA NTDP
5. Columbus Blue Jackets: Kent Johnson, C, Michigan
6. Detroit Red Wings: Simon Edvinsson, D, Frolunda (SHL)
7. San Jose Sharks: William Eklund, LW, Djurgarden (SHL)
8. Los Angeles Kings: Brandt Clarke, D, Barrie (OHL)
9. Arizona Coyotes: Dylan Guenther, RW, Edmonton (WHL)
10. Ottawa Senators: Tyler Boucher, RW, USA NTDP
11. Pick forfeited by the Arizona Coyotes
12. Columbus Blue Jackets: Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls (USHL)
13. Calgary Flames: Matthew Coronato, Chicago (USHL)
14. Buffalo Sabres: Isak Rosen, RW, Leksand (SHL)
15. Detroit Red Wings: Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton (WHL)
16. New York Rangers: Brennan Othmann, LW, Flint (OHL)
17. St. Louis Blues: Zachary Bolduc, C, Rimouski (QMJHL)
18. Winnipeg Jets: Chaz Lucius, C, USA NTDP
19. Nashville Predators: Fedor Svechkov, C, St. Petersburg (KHL)
20. Minnesota Wild: Jesper Wallstedt, G, Lulea (SHL)
21. Boston Bruins: Fabian Lysell, RW, Lulea (SHL)
22. Edmonton Oilers: Xavier Bourgault, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
23. Dallas Stars: Wyatt Johnson, C, Windsor (OHL)
24. Florida Panthers: Mackie Samoskevich, RW, Chicago (USHL)
25. Columbus Blue Jackets: Corson Ceulemans, D, Brooks (AJHL)
26. Minnesota Wild: Carson Lambos, D, Winnipeg (WHL)
27. Nashville Predators: Zachary L'Heureux, LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
28. Colorado Avalanche: Oskar Olausson, RW, HV71 (SHL)
29. New Jersey Devils: Chase Stillman, RW, Sudbury (OHL)
30. Vegas Golden Knights: Zach Dean, C, Gatineau (QMJHL)
31. Montreal Canadiens: Logan Mailloux, D, London (GOJHL)
32. Chicago Blackhawks: Nolan Allan, D, Prince Albert (WHL)
The beginning of the 2021 NHL draft was dominated by Michigan. With Owen Power, Matthew Beniers and Kent Johnson all getting selected within the first five picks (including Power and Beniers going first and second, respectively), it was a great night for the Wolverines.
It also was an expected outcome. Many mocks had Power and Beniers going at Nos. 1 and 2, and Johnson was another highly prospect rated.
"When you have that much talent on one team, there's going to be a lot of eyes on them. And certainly [with] the draft-eligible players, that was the case," Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said, per John Wawrow of the Associated Press. "When you're in practice every single day going with and against elite players, that helps your development. I absolutely tip my cap to Michigan and the way they've been able to bring in the players that they have."
The first round wasn't just about the trio of Michigan players, though. There were plenty of other notable selections that took place as teams around the NHL looked to bolster their systems with prospects who could one day make huge impacts.
The New Jersey Devils selected Luke Hughes at No. 4 overall, which is noteworthy because they took one of his older brothers, Jack, with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL draft. Now, the Hughes siblings could be integral parts of New Jersey's roster for years to come, as the 20-year-old Jack and the 17-year-old Luke both have tons of potential.
"It's a dream come true to play in the NHL, and it's also a dream come true to play with your brother," the younger Hughes said, per Wawrow.
There were also some big trades that took place and shook up the draft order—and there are sure to be more deals taking place throughout the draft Saturday.
The Arizona Coyotes didn't have a first-round pick, as they had to forfeit the No. 11 overall selection because of combine-testing violations during the 2019-20 season. However, they still ended up with a selection in the opening round, acquiring the No. 9 pick, among other assets, in the deal that sent Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland to the Vancouver Canucks.
It came at a high cost, but Arizona landed one of the top offensive players in the class, taking Canadian winger Dylan Guenther. The Coyotes may struggle in the short term, but Guenther has the potential to become a strong player for them in the future.
The Columbis Blue Jackets traded Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks for, among other things, the No. 12 pick, which Columbus used to draft center Cole Sillinger. Another notable trade occurred when the Sabres acquired the No. 14 selection from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Rasmus Ristolainen. They used the pick to take winger Isak Rosen.