(Originally published Apr. 27, 2017)
2016-17 Team: St. Cloud State Huskies
Date of Birth: January 2, 1999
Place of Birth: Lakeville, Minnesota
Ht: 6’2” Wt: 185 lbs.
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- THW Alternate Rankings: 14th (February)
- Future Considerations: 20th (Spring)
- ISS: 19th (April)
- Bob McKenzie: 17th (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 9th (March)
- Jeff Marek: 24th (March)
No one should ever question Ryan Poehling 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.
In an interview with NHL.com, Motzko knew Poehling needed some time to find his game and role in the Huskies lineup.
“You can see there’s going to be a day the lid comes off,” said Motzko in the November interview talking about Poehling’s early season struggles, “ He will settle into becoming an impactful player at the collegiate level.”
Poehling’s talents was first put on display at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup last summer as he tied for the tournament lead in goals with four scored in four games. He added on to that with another standout performance at the 2016 USA Hockey All-American Prospect Game in Philadelphia. His brilliant play earned him an A rating from the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.
NHL Draft Projection
Teams expect as Poehling matures that he will become more of a two-way forward that can control the puck heading on an offensive rush. Because of his height and weight, Poehling is an ideal candidate for puck battles in the corners, and defenders will have trouble taking it away from him. The draft projection for Poehling is between the 15th-20th pick in the first round, as great patience will be needed from any team that selects him. Poehling needs at least a season or two to become more physically and emotionally ready to play at the NHL level.
“Ryan Poehling has long stick reach that can be very effective in heavy traffic. I like his vision and the way he creates scoring opportunities for his teammates.” – David Gregory, NHL Central Scouting
- Powerful skater
- Great leaderships skills
- Very good wrist shot
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Body needs to mature
- Become more of a goal scorer
Poehling has the potential to be a top three center because of the combination of size and skill as he can be used in any situation on the ice. His outstanding puck-handling ability has projected him to be more of a playmaker than a goal scorer, with the majority of Poehling’s goals scored on deflections or rebounds last season with St. Cloud State.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7/10, Defence – 7/10
If Poehling is selected in the first round, he will become the highest drafted player in the history of the St. Cloud State hockey program. Prior to him, Matt Cullen was the Huskies highest drafted player after he was taken 35th overall by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
Thomas Conroy covers the Vegas Golden Knights for The Hockey Writers Network He has been writing about sports since 2007, first as a contributor for Bleacher Report and Football Nation. Recently, Conroy was a co-editor for the Bolts Beat website on Fansided. To read more his work, please him on Twitter @tsconroy