Coming in as the 21st ranked prospect in the 2017 NHL entry draft is St Cloud State University centre Ryan Poehling.
A combination of size, vision and leadership that teams will covet, Poehling completed his freshman season in the NCAA with his two brothers, Jack and Nick.
Ryan didn’t blow the doors off at St Cloud State but held his own against players that were as old as 23. He offers a tantalizing skill set that seems perfectly suited for the NHL.
- Age: 18-years-old, 1999-01-03
- Birthplace: Lakeville, MIN, USA
- Position: C
- Handedness: L
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 185 lbs
- Draft Year Team: St. Cloud State University (NCAA)
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A leader on the ice, Poehling has the makeup to become a reliable two-way center at NHL-level. He is big, controls the puck well and is not easy to separate from the puck because of his strong skating balance, puck protection skills and overall compete level. Has leadership skills and communicates actively. Uses his great vision and awareness to see open ice and set up team mates. Can take off in a hurry with a few strong stides.
A do-it-all power-center…a thinking mans hockey player… good straight-line speed but could work on his first couple steps… he makes up for foot speed with great hockey sense, and his strong worth ethic…controls the puck well, protects it nicely…has an uncanny knack of being in the right spot at the right time…has a quick, hard shot…possess a strong one-timer as he reads the play incredibly well, and positions himself effectively…makes good passes and is able to create offense…makes pro-type plays…high compete-level, 200 ft. player…hard on the forecheck, takes great angles to pucks and battles hard down-low and along the boards…isn’t afraid to mix it up, and get to the dirty areas of the ice…solid in the face-off circle…a good head on his shoulders with the drive and the right attitude to succeed…will produce offensively and be a player that is used in many roles by his coach …reliable, mature, high compete-level, 200 ft. player.
Poehling is a strong skater who has a well rounded game. He is particularly adept at using his teammates to create offence but still packs a punch with his wrist shot. Ideally he would shoot more because his wrist shot is one of his best weapons.
He will need to add some muscle and maturity to his game to become a pro, but he has a skillset that could very easily move up to the NHL level. The problem is, that his ceiling just may not be particularly high, he may only ever be a bottom six centre.
Poehling was one of the few 17 year olds in the NCAA this season, which happened because he loaded up in the summer to complete his high school courses, get his diploma and join his brothers at St Cloud State. Poehling was the first overall pick in the 2015 USHL Futures Draft. He only played 9 games for the Lincoln Stars before changing his course, loading up on those courses and heading to University.
The Lakeville, Minnesota native has shown well at the international level including the Ivan Hlinka and U18 tournaments. He was one of the few players that weren’t in the USNTDP for the U18’s and he did very well. Posting three goals and 2 assists in 7 games for the US en route to the gold medal.
Obviously his production in the NCAA wasn’t what one could’ve hoped for, but St Cloud didn’t have any superstars that inflated totals. Ryan finished the season with the 9 most points, and one more point than defenceman and first round pick Dennis Cholowski.
That low total also didn’t produce any successful matches in terms of pGPS. That is a bit concerning, as you would’ve hoped for at least one player to match with.
Another statistical angle is using SEAL (Adjusted scoring, acronym stands for Situational, Era, Age, League), to see how Poehling looks.
The best way to summarize it, is that’s it unremarkable.
I personally had Poehling ranked lower because of the low ceiling, but he does have the size and skill set that should translate to the NHL.
Some teams will value that lower risk type of player, rather than swinging for the fences. That’s exactly what Poehling is, a low risk, low reward type of player. It only takes one team to like him more than the next for him to have his name called in the last parts of the first round.