With the 25th Pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft the Montreal Canadiens Have Selected Ryan Poehling From the St. Cloud State Huskies in the NCAA.
About Ryan Poehling
At 6 foot 2 and 183 pounds Poehling is a big, 17-year-old freshman from St. Cloud State University. Being that young and playing in the NCAA is a rare feat for any player going into his draft year. He’s not necessarily the most prolific scorer or skater, but he’s a winner. He can play in all situations from the penalty kill to being a defensive presence or taking an important faceoff. He’s naturally wired to play well when it matters most and on offense he has decent hands, ready to tip the puck in or grab juicy rebounds. He ranks high for hockey sense and never seems to run out of energy.
Poehling joined his twin brothers at St. Cloud State University and as the youngest of the brothers produced 13 points in 35 games, outscoring his brothers who are several years his senior. Poehling was the youngest player in the NCAA but he didn’t play like it. He has a definite pedigree to play in the NHL.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt:
No one should ever question Ryan Poehling’s commitment to the game of hockey because he spent last summer taking the required courses needed to graduate early from Lakeville North High School in order to enroll and become eligible to play for the St. Cloud State Huskies in the 2016-17 season. Oh and to make it a family affair, his older twin brothers, Jack and Nick, joined him on the roster.
Playing as a true freshman in any collegiate sport can be a challenging experience, and Poehling did struggle at the start of his first season. However, he showed tremendous playmaking skills around the net as the year progressed. The one person that wasn’t surprised by the evolution of his game was Huskies coach Bob Motzko.
How This Affects the Montreal Canadiens’ Plans
Because Poehling has one year of college eligibility under his belt, he’s one year closer to the NHL. That said, as a prospect, he’s still a few years out from being NHL ready. The Montreal Canadiens didn’t draft him as an answer to their questions about who might be their future top-line center, but he could be a bottom-six option.
When asked how he would describe his own game, Poehling said,
For sure, I’m a 200-foot player. I play defence as hard as I play offence and I think that’s why they respect me. I stay true to the game and when y0u do that, the game stays true to you. That’s a big part of myself. When the offence isn’t clicking that night, you got defence to rely on.
The Montreal Canadiens prospect depth at center isn’t terribly good. They have Jeremy Gregoire, Lukas Vejdemo and Daniel Audette in the system but all are long-term projects. If the Canadiens are going to be much improved at center, they’ll still likely need to accomplish that by trade or through free agency.