(WGR 550) – Buffalo Sabres prospects Owen Power and Devon Levi will be playing in next month’s Olympic Games with Canada.
Power was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, while Levi was acquired from the Florida Panthers as part of the Sam Reinhart trade in July.
In 24 games at the University of Michigan this season, Power has three goals and 23 assists for 26 points. He played two games for Canada at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship before they were canceled due to COVID-19. While there, the defenseman had three goals and two assists for five points. Sabres head coach Don Granato loves the season that he’s had so far.
“I was really glad that he went back to play college hockey," Granato said. "He had the hindsight of a Freshman year, so he could internalize things he was to adjust and set goals with a clear vision. He’s gone after them aggressively and performed so well, so he’s getting some great grooming for when he does jump up to pro hockey.”
As for Levi, he has played 24 games with Northeastern University and has posted a 16-7-1 record with a 1.55 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage. Levi played for Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he went 6-1-0 with a 0.75 goals-against average and a .964 save percentage.
Power is 19-years-old, while Levi just turned 20. Granato is very pleased for the two youngsters.
“Our two prospects heading to the Olympics, especially for Canada - which is so deep with talent - They’re two guys we’re very proud of. They’ve had tremendous years in college hockey," Granato said.
As Granato has mentioned in the past, he came across Power long before the Sabres drafted him.
“I’ve known Owen Power, and with Devon I just keep hearing story after story about what a great person he is.”
Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said he wanted to let Power know that he supported whatever he may decide on this.
“From my standpoint, it was just to communicate with them and say that we were supportive, and whatever they felt they were comfortable with, we wanted to support and on a development path. This is just another experience,” he said.
Adams also is pleased that both of Buffalo's highly-touted prospects are getting a chance to do something like this.
“It’s very exciting for them individually," Adams said. "Anytime you can put your country’s jersey on and represent in that way, it’s very meaningful. We’re really excited for them and proud of them, and excited for the opportunity that they have.”
Power didn’t sign with the Sabres, in part, because he wanted to play with Team Canada at the World Juniors. As I mentioned, that got cut short, but he also was a big part of Team Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Championship this past May. He played a lot of minutes in 10 games for Canada, helping them win the gold medal.
Now, he gets the trifecta of playing for Canada in the Olympics, because the NHL decided not to let its players participate. Granato loves that these kids get to do this.
“It’s an experience that’s extremely unique and extremely rare, and there’s no Olympian that probably wouldn’t tell you that there was some life-changing component to becoming an Olympian," he said. "To have two, young, talented guys like that have that opportunity is a real bonus for us as an organization."
Levi was a seventh round pick for the Florida Panthers in the 2020 NHL Draft, and NHL scouts had no idea of the talent that this kid possesses.
“This is where it’s really important to have extremely talented people around me," Adams said. "I give Shamus Kotyk a lot of credit. There was a lot of people on me when we were going through this negotiation to stay on this kid, so we did not want to compromise, because we really believe that this player could be something special.”
Former Sabres forward Eric Staal is also on Team Canada.