Welcome back to Top Shelf Hockey Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2017 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Ryan Poehling.
Ryan Poehling fast-tracked through high school in order to join St. Cloud State, and play NCAA hockey a year earlier than most. He wanted to join his brothers, Jack and Nick on the Huskies team before they graduated. As an underage freshman, Poehling has scored seven goals and six assists for 13 points in 35 games. He also played for Team USA at last summers Ivan Hlinka tournament, putting up four goals and six points in four games. Poehling was considered one of the best players on the team, and in the tournament overall. Poehling could join Team USA for the upcoming U18 World Championships. He also played at the All-American Top Prospects Game last fall.
Ryan Poehling Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #21
Center — shoots Left
Born January 3rd, 1999 — Lakeville, Minnesota
Height 6’3″ — Weight 185 lbs [191 cm / 84 kg]
Poehling is a good skater. He has decent speed and acceleration, but it could be improved with some slight alterations to his stride. He has good size and uses his speed to get in quickly on the forecheck, looking to pressure defenders and cause mistakes. Poehling has good lower body strength and balance. He is tough to knock off the puck, especially when working down low. He also is very good in puck battles. Poehling has the power to fight through checks and continue to the front of the net. His lateral agility and edgework are decent for a player with his size.
Ryan Poehling plays a gritty game, battling in the corners and in front of the net; as well as bering effective on the forecheck. He also has a very good wrist shot and release. Poehling really needs to use that shot more though, as he has a tendency to pass up shooting opportunities in order to make an extra pass. The majority of his goals have come on deflections and rebounds during the NCAA season.
Poehling’s stickhandling is decent, but he plays a very straightforward north-south style of game, and isn’t the type to take on defenders in one-on-one situations. Instead he looks to move the puck to an open teammate and then try to find an open area on the ice. He loves to run give-and-go style plays with his teammates. His vision is very good, and he seems to almost always make the smart play with the puck. Poehling is especially strong in the cycle game. He protects the puck well and extends plays, giving time for his linemates to get open.
Poehling is already a reliable defensive player at the NCAA level. He reads the play well, and anticipates what opponents will do with the puck, to create turnovers, and start the transition game. His positioning is solid and he uses that in combination with an active stick to cut down passing lanes. Poehling is willing to put his body on the line and block shots. Poehling back checks effectively and supports the defence down low. He continues to play his gritty style in his own end of the rink, getting involved in puck battles in the corners, and helping to keep the front of the net clear.
Projection and Comparison
Poehling has the potential to be a top six centre at the next level. There is room to improve in the offensive end of the ice, and expect his point totals to increase as he has more experience in the NCAA. Poehling’s style compares to Patrick Berglund of the St. Louis Blues, but this is a style comparison only, and not one based on talent.
The following is a collection of highlight videos available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect available on our draft board.