Player: Ryan Poehling
Height: 6’2” Weight: 185 lbs.
Team: St. Cloud State(NCHC)
Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 13th among North American skaters
What I Like
Strong first step
Poehling is a good overall skater, but where he really stands out is with his acceleration. He gets moving really well with a powerful first step that allows him to win races and create space for himself with the puck.
Does the little things
Poehling uses that quickness, as well as anticipation to win a lot of races to pucks, and create a lot of turnovers with heavy pressure. He may not always stand to the casual observer, but coaches and stat geeks will love him because he is great at helping maintain possession in scramble situations.
He’s also willing to go into the dirty areas of the ice to make plays. He’s strong in the corners, and gets to the front of the net at the right time. Of his seven goals this season, over half came off of tips or deflections with him standing in front of the net.
Poehling only registered six assists in 35 collegiate games this season, but did show some creativity and vision in terms of passing the puck, even if it wasn’t often turning into goals. Poehling is especially good working from behind the net to create passing angles.
What I Don’t Like
Lacks high-end skill
Poehling is a strong, reliable player, but doesn’t show a lot of offensive upside. He’s not particularly creative with the puck on his stick and doesn’t create a lot of scoring chances for himself or his teammates. Some of that can be chalked up to playing against much older competition last year, but when he had opportunities, Poehling doesn’t show much offensive flair to his game.
Doesn’t shoot the puck enough
Poehling finished his season with St. Cloud State with only 37 shots in 35 games, despite seeing decent time on the power play. He has the ability to create shooting opportunities for himself with his skating ability, but didn’t quite show the aggressiveness to look for his own shot, and sometimes struggled to put himself in a position where he could receive a pass for an open shot.
Poehling is one of the safer picks available in the first round. Usually, safe is death in the NHL Draft, especially in the first round when teams are looking for potential top line upside. But there just aren’t a lot of guys in this Draft that would be worth taking above Poehling. I do think he slips into the 20-30 range because of his lack of offensive upside, but I can’t see him slipping out of the first round.
Poehling is a player that should have a nice, long NHL career and be a solid contributor for whatever team he plays for. At the same time, five to 10 years from now, I think people will look at the back of his hockey card and say, “Wow, I can’t believe he went that high in the Draft.” Barring a big change, I don’t see Poehling ever being a top line forward, and he’s likely never going to be a player that is really counted to provide offense. But he’ll be a valuable player that makes his team better in a third or fourth line role by doing the quiet little things to help maintain possession and make the players around him look better.