The record might not reflect it, but Michigan’s 2020-21 hockey team was one of the most talented squads in recent memory. Loaded with future NHLers, the Wolverines were making a late push before Covid knocked them out of the NCAA Tournament. This was an extremely disappointing end to a roster full of top draft picks.
Fortunately, it looks like many of those faces will be returning. No. 1 overall pick Owen Power is headed back to Ann Arbor this year, ready to join up with No. 4 pick Luke Hughes in defense. Hughes will be just a freshman, but carries quite the legacy after his brother Jack was the first selection in the 2019 draft and other brother Quinn spent two years racking up All-Big Ten honors with the Wolverines.
Power alluded to returning when speaking to The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler last month:
“I think long term going back to school is probably the smartest thing. I think if I wanted to, I could play in the NHL no problem,” Power finished.” It would be great to play in the NHL but I’m in no rush. I don’t think Michigan’s a bad option to go back to by any stretch. Right now I’m probably leaning towards going back but that could all change depending on who drafts me and what they want.”
The fun likely does not stop there. No. 2 pick, Matty Beniers, is expected to also return to Michigan for his sophomore season after becoming the first ever selection by the Seattle Kraken. The same is the case for No. 6 pick Kent Johnson of the Blue Jackets, who might as well join his classmates to solidify an absolutely absurd lineup.
The one notable departure from last year’s loaded squad is Strauss Mann, who is off to Sweden pursuing a professional career. However, Erik Portillo looks fully capable of taking over the starting duties in net, and Thursday’s addition of transfer netminder Noah West gives Michigan another solid goalie. With these confirmed additions and presumed returns, there is zero excuse for not making a deep tournament run next spring.
- The Michigan Insider ($): 2024 top-100 QB CJ Carr is an obvious Michigan target
- The Michigan Insider ($): 2024 top-100 WR Nick Marsh is another prospect to watch