Michigan Hockey makes history in 2021 NHL Draft

Michigan hockey did something in the 2021 NHL draft that’s never been done before. 

Last night, the NHL held its annual NHL Draft and it was a historic night for Michigan hockey. Michigan became the first college program to have three teammates selected in the first round. However, Michigan didn’t stop there. Four of the top five picks were Wolverines.

Defenseman Owen Power got things started when he was selected first overall by the Buffalo Sabres. He had three goals and 13 assists in 26 games and led all Big Ten freshmen defensemen with 16 points.

Center Matthew Beniers was the first player drafted in Seattle Kraken history when the expansion franchise selected him second overall. Beniers was Michigan’s leading goal scorer with 10 goals and he added 14 assists to rank fourth nationally in freshmen scoring with 24 points. Powers and Beniers also became the first pair of college teammates to go 1-2 in the NHL Draft.

The New Jersey Devils made it a family affair when it selected defenseman Luke Hughes fourth overall. Luke is the third Hughes brother to be selected in the NHL Draft. He will be joining his brother Jack, the 2019 No.1 overall pick, in New Jersey. Quinn was the No.7 overall pick in the 2018 draft and his career has gotten off to a solid start so far.

Center Kent Johnson went fifth to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Johnson played on the wing this season and that versatility should help him when he reaches the NHL. He was second in points for Michigan with 27 (9 goals and 18 assists) in 26 games.

He ranked third nationally in freshmen points per game (1.04). It would have been nice to see one of the Wolverines be selected by the local Detroit Red Wings, help with its rebuild, and pair with Dylan Larkin. However, the Red Wings had the sixth overall pick.

Not be to forgotten, Mackie Samoskevich was the 24th overall pick by the Florida Panthers. Samoskevich spent last season in the USHL with the Chicago Steel.

Michigan became the only school to have five players or recruits selected in the first round of one draft. What Michigan accomplished last night was unprecedented, not just in the NHL, but across all of the professional sports leagues. Hopefully, all five of them go on to have excellent NHL careers when they make the jump to the pros.