Owen Power was the 1st overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. He just finished up his season with Michigan and made his NHL debut last night with the Sabres. His welcome to the show moment came against Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Certainly no easy task for a 19-year-old defenseman.
With that being said...
I mean what are we doing here? Owen Power made a relatively routine play against a 2v1 here. He took away the passing lane, made sure he didn't fuck over his goalie by giving Auston Matthews a wide open look on the backdoor, and broke up the pass. It's a good defensive play, no doubt about it. But was it highlight worthy? Is that where we're at now as far as trying to showcase defensive talent in the NHL? That a routine 2v1 breakup is enough to showcase why Owen Power is going to be a stud in this league?
Maybe I'm just nitpicking here. But honestly, I think people just forget what it means to be a good defenseman in the NHL these days. You look back at all the guys who have won the Norris Trophy over the past 10 years as the "league's top defenseman". It pretty much just goes to the guy who has the most points every year. The best defenseman in the league has turned into which defenseman can be the best offensive player. Then when a kid like Owen Power shows up and makes a perfectly fine, yet super routine, play on defense it's like we've never seen anything like it anymore. He didn't even have to do anything special here. Wasn't like he long bodied to block the pass. Wasn't like he made some insane play with his stick to break it up. He just...stood in the passing lane and let the puck come right to him.
Again. Good play. The right play. Especially for a 19-year-old playing in his first NHL game. But if that's where the bar is set for a defensive highlight? Well I guess we should just stick to insane Cale Makar goals for a while.
Now if you want to talk about highlight tapes, THIS is a highlight tape.