The Power of 1: Michigan D is top-ranked NHL draft prospect

FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2021, file photo, United States' Matthew Beniers (10) scores an empty net goal against Slovakia during the third period of an IIHL World Junior Hockey Championship game in Edmonton, Alberta. Ann Arbor, Michigan, became a must-stop on the scouting trail because of a buzz-worthy Wolverines lineup featuring a trio of highly touted freshmen in defenseman Owen Power, and forwards Kent Johnson and Mathew Beniers. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
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Owen Power (Michigan, NCAA), defense, 6-foot-6, 213 pounds.

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 North American skater

Last season: Scored three goals and added 13 assists for 16 points in 26 games with Wolverines. Had three assists and showcased skating ability on larger European ice surface in helping Canada win gold medal at men’s world championships in Latvia.

Central Scouting Report: “A very fluid and agile skater who can transition quickly on plays and separate himself from checking. He plays a mature game for his age.”

Compared to: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay.

Could go: 1st (Buffalo) or 2nd (Seattle). Has chance to become just third college player to be selected first overall.

They said it: “I think I’m a two-way defenseman that can play in all situations and log a lot of minutes. I think any team in the NHL would want someone like that.” — Power, when asked why he deserves being selected No. 1.

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Mason McTavish (Peterborough, OHL/Olten, Switzerland 2nd Division), center, 6-foot-1, 207 pounds.

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 2 North American skater

Last season: On loan to Olten, had nine goals and 11 points in 13 games. Had five goals and 11 points in seven games in helping Canada win gold at world junior championships.

Central Scouting Report: “Has deceptive speed and quickness. He utilizes his size effectively to protect pucks while driving to the net and can still make plays while being checked.”

Compared to: Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis.

Could go: 2nd (Seattle) or 3rd (Anaheim). Father Dale McTavish played nine games with NHL Calgary Flames in 1996-97 before spending next 14 seasons playing in Switzerland.

They said it: “I really admire the way Ryan Getzlaf plays. He’s a big center, he gets around pretty well and obviously, as you know, has high-end skills.” — McTavish, on being compared to Ducks forward.

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Kent Johnson (Michigan, NCAA) forward, 6-foot-1, 167 pounds.

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 3 North American skater

Last season: Finished second among college freshmen with 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) in 26 games after switching from center to wing.

Central Scouting Report: “One of the most skilled prospects in the draft class and one of the most dangerous scoring threats when he’s on the ice.”

Compared to: Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders.

Could go: Anywhere between 3rd (Anaheim) and 6th (Detroit).

They said it: “I was maybe a bit of a late bloomer.” — Johnson, on choosing college route after spending two-plus seasons playing for BCHL Trail. “I saw the opportunity with my late birthday to be able to play college hockey in my draft year, and I just thought it was a great development path for me.”

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Luke Hughes (USA U-18, National Team Development Program) defense, 6-foot-2, 184 pounds.

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 4 North American skater

Last season: Had six goals and 34 points in 38 games to lead program defensemen in averaging 0.89 points per game.

Central Scouting Report: “Takes control of the play with his exceptional skating and smarts. He has a quick read-and-react game and moves ultra-quick to gain the advantage and be on top of plays.”

Compared to: Shea Theodore, Vegas.

Could go: Anywhere between 4th (New Jersey) and 7th (San Jose). Following brothers’ footsteps after Quinn Hughes was selected seventh overall by Vancouver in 2018, and after New Jersey drafted Jack Hughes with No. 1 pick in 2019.

They said it: “It would be unbelievable to go to the Devils. My brother clearly wants me to be there. It would be super cool to play with him and I’d love that. But at the same time, there’s 32 great teams out there and I’d be happy to go to any one of those teams.” — Hughes.

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Dylan Guenther (Edmonton, WHL) right wing, 6-foot-1, 175 pounds.

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 5 North American skater

Last season: Had 12 goals and 24 points in 12 games for Edmonton, while adding three goals and five points in four games on loan to AJHL Sherwood Park. Also scored four goals and seven points in seven games for Canada’s world junior championship-winning team.

Central Scouting Report: “He is lightning fast on plays. He possesses an NHL shot, making him a true finisher and legitimate threat who can score with a variety of shots.”

Compared to: Mikko Rantanen, Colorado.

Could go: Anywhere between 6th (Detroit) and 12th (Chicago)

They said it: “Yeah, it’s tough. I was sitting at home for a long period of time where other countries and other players were able to play and kind of continue to get better through a normal season.” — Guenther, on playing abbreviated WHL season. “I had to find ways to continue to get better and work on my game.”

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William Eklund (Djurgarden, Sweden) left wing, 5-foot-10, 176 pounds.

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 International skater

Last season: Finished tied for second on Djurgarden with 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 40 games to earn Swedish Hockey League rookie and junior hockey player of the year honors, while overcoming an appendectomy and testing positive for COVID-19.

Central Scouting Report: “A scoring threat on every shift, he plays bigger than his size and plays to win.”

Compared to: Mitch Marner, Toronto.

Could go: Anywhere between No. 2 (Seattle) to No. 5 (Columbus). His father Christian Eklund spent a majority of his pro career with Djurgarden.

They said it: “I know I’m not going to be the tallest player on the team, and I see that the game of hockey has changed so much over the past years that those smaller, skilled players can be really effective in the NHL, too.” — Eklund, on his size. “Those are role models for us smaller players.”

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Simon Edvinsson (Frolunda Jr., Sweden) defense, 6-foot-4, 198 pounds.

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 2 International skater

Last season: Had an assist in 10 games with SHL Frolunda, while adding a goal and six points in 14 games for Frolunda Jr. Had a goal and four points in seven games in helping Sweden win bronze at world junior championships.

Central Scouting Report: “A big, physically strong two-way defenseman that plays with confidence and is a leader on the ice. Moves the puck quickly.”

Compared to: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay.

Could go: Can go anywhere from No. 6 (Detroit) to No. 13 (Calgary).

They said it: “I feel like the team and me didn’t play as good as we can." — Edvinsson, on the world junior championship team and the adjustment to playing on smaller ice surface in Edmonton. “But when we start to play, like in the playoff, we really find each other and use the rink to our game system so it went better at the playoff.”

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