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Winners and losers from the 2021 NHL draft weekend

  • July 25, 2021

The 2021 NHL draft is in the books, with 223 total picks Friday and Saturday from University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power to winger Niko Huuhtanen of the Finnish junior league. 

But the weekend was also dominated by major trades as teams tried to get their rosters in shape for the July 28 start of the unrestricted free agency signing period amid a flat salary cap.

Seth Jones, Sam Reinhart, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Pavel Buchnevich, Conor Garland, Jakub Voracek, Cam Atkinson and Rasmus Ristolainen are among the players who changed teams.

Here are the winners and losers from the draft weekend:

Winners

University of Michigan: The first round could serve as a recruiting pitch for the Big Ten school. Power went first overall to the Buffalo Sabres, teammate Matthew Beniers went next to the Seattle Kraken and fellow center Kent Johnson went fifth overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets. No. 4 pick Luke Hughes is committed to playing in Michigan next season, as is No. 24 pick Matthew Samoskevich.

NHL DRAFT:First-round picks, scouting reports of the players selected

OFFSEASON TRACKER:Analyzing the moves in a busy offseason

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres were a mess last season and likely will be again next season. But Power, who is debating returning to Michigan next season, gives them promise for the future. They also got first-round picks for unhappy players Ristolainen (2021, which they used on playmaking winger Isak Rosen) and Reinhart (2022). 

by picking Logan Mailloux in the first round, even though he had asked to be excluded from the draft. The defenseman was fined in Sweden last year for taking and sharing an explicit photo of a woman without her consent. The move had very bad optics.

Untraded players: Two of Jack Eichel’s Sabres teammates were traded. He’s still waiting. So is the St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko.

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