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Avalanche Draft Profile: Ryan Poehling

AJ Haefele Avatar
June 7, 2017


Get to Know Ryan Poehling

Date of Birth: 1/3/1999
Place of Birth: Lakeville, MN, USA
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 185 lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: Center
Team (League): St. Cloud State University (NCAA)


What Scouts See

Last Word on Sports:

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 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.

Dennis Schellenberg, Hockey Prospectus:

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.

What BSN Avalanche sees

In a lot of ways, Poehling will be his NHL coach’s dream player. He’s intelligent, big, and committed to playing a responsible game in all zones and phases. He uses his size well and plays with a physical edge when he needs to and uses that frame advantage in an offensive capacity when the situation calls for it. He’s unselfish with a high hockey IQ and was a contributor on a solid St. Cloud State team as a true freshman.

So what’s not to like here? Basically, his skill level won’t wow you. While freshmen don’t typically put up big numbers, especially first-year draft-eligible players, the production was still a touch underwhelming. Almost all of his goals came on tips or deflections in front of the net, which is where a player his size should be comfortable and Poehling clearly is. Still, you rarely saw him beat defenders in isolated situations and he showed a distinct lack of finish for a player who did spend so much time around the net.

His defensive game is mature and he’s committed to that end of the ice so he’ll always be an impact player there but for a likely first round selection, Poehling’s offensive upside remains a legitimate question mark and just about the only one he has.


NHL Potential

For right now, Poehling looks like a sure bet to fall into the second half of the first round but looks like a guy who will have to see a lot go wrong to not make the NHL someday. The question is…what happens when he gets there? It’s a safe bet he ends up as a strong, two-way center in the NHL who should settle in on the second line.

How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization

Poehling is an awkward for the Avalanche. He’s completed one NCAA season already and likely doesn’t stay beyond his junior season, giving him at most two more development years until he enters pro hockey. For the Avs, center is the one position where they are simply loaded. Their likely top three centers next season will have an average age of 21 on opening night so the logjam isn’t set to clear anytime soon.

The assumption would be for Poehling to transition to wing and his size and hockey IQ would be a great fit in the Avalanche system, one still sorely lacking in overall talent.

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