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Scouting the 2017 NHL Draft: Your head coach will want you to draft Ryan Poehling

Poehling is a big, smart center that has the makeup to become a reliable two-way center in NHL

CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

As the youngest player in the NCAA this season, Ryan Poehling had a very good year playing as the second line center on a St. Cloud State team that finished fifth in the NCAC. He struggled early in the season - making the jump from high school hockey - but as the season went on, Poehling got more and more comfortable and became a key contributor to his team.

After being drafted first overall into the USHL by the Lincoln Stars, Poehling decided to skip his senior year of high school to join his brothers Jack and Nick at St. Cloud State - leaving the USHL after only 9 games.

The first thing people mention when talking about Poehling is his skating. He’s got a long powerful stride and has the ability to get up to top speed very quickly. He’s tall but lanky and despite a slender frame, he has the ability to brush of contact and maintain possession of the puck.

He is not overly flashy, but he’s got very good puck skills and the ability to both create scoring chances for himself and distribute to his teammates. He’s got some room to grow offensively, but given that he was the only player born in 1999 in the NCAA, he’s got a lot of time to develop.

Poehling is definitely a big presence down low and especially in front of the net. He uses his size to gain possession and has great hand-eye coordination - most of his seven goals this season came from deflections in front of the net.

He is very calm and poised for his age - something that comes from an elite on-ice IQ. Poehling has the ability to be an elite two-way center and provides the type of intangibles that coaches fall in love with.

Last year, the Dallas Stars drafted fellow Minnesota high school star Riley Tufte 25th overall. Poehling is better and further along in his development than Tufte was at the same age. During his last year of high school, in the same league, Poeling produced nearly identical numbers to Casey Mittlestadt who is older and is now believed to be a top-5 pick this June. He’s ranked anywhere from 14 to the mid-20s, but Poehling would likely be a very solid selection in the middle of the first round - especially for a team that wants to focus on players with an all-around game. He’ll likely never be a top-line center in the NHL, but it’s very likely that he can develop into a very solid 2C that can play both Poeling produced nearly identical numbers to Casey Mittlestadt who is a year older and is now believed to be a top-5 pick this June. He’s ranked anywhere from 14 to the mid-20s, but Poehling would likely be a very solid selection in the middle of the first round - especially for a team that wants to focus on players with an all-around game. He’ll likely never be a top-line center in the NHL, but it’s very likely that he can develop into a very solid 2C that can play both powerplay and penalty kill minutes.

He may not be a name that has a lot of hype going into the draft, but Ryan Poehling is going to be a very good pick and end up at or near the top of the center depth chart for a team drafting in the middle of the first round.

"The 6-2, 183-pound forward brings speed and smarts and seems to make things happen at the right time. He generates offense in clutch situations, and is close to being the complete package." - Mike Morreale, NHL.com

Highlights

Ryan Poehling Career Statistics

Season Team League GP G A TP PIM
Season Team League GP G A TP PIM
2013-2014 Lakeville North High USHS 24 11 16 27 21
Lakeville North High MN State 3 0 2 2 0
2014-2015 Team Kelly USA-S15 5 3 0 3 -
Team Southeast USHS 20 3 2 5 20
Lakeville North High MN State 3 1 1 2 0
Lakeville North High USHS 25 14 24 38 12
2015-2016 Team Southeast USHS 20 6 14 20 12
Lakeville North High USHS 25 20 34 54 10
Lincoln Stars USHL 9 2 2 4 0
2016-2017 St. Cloud State Univ. NCAA 35 7 6 13 12
Team Columbia USA-S17 5 2 3 5 -
USA U18 Hlinka Memorial 4 4 2 6 6
USA U18 WJC-18 7 3 2 5 6