Ryan Poehling began his tenure with the Montreal Canadiens on a hot end, and perhaps a full year in the AHL with the Laval Rocket could reignite it.
April 06th, 2019. The Montreal Canadiens were playing their final game of the 2019-20 season against the Toronto Maple Leafs, preparing for another summer of hopeful additions. After leaving St. Cloud State and signing an entry-level contract, the Habs gave Ryan Poehling the nod to make his NHL debut.
Poehling was never known as a point-producer. However, his positional play and hockey awareness allowed him to place himself and his linemates in places to succeed. He improved his stats from his first year at St. Cloud State, putting up 31 points in each of his final two seasons, including some stand out play for Team USA at the World Hockey Championships in 2018 and 2019.
That said, nothing prepared fans and media for the hat-trick Poehling would put up against the Leafs centring the fourth line.
Poehling, along with Nick Suzuki, were focal points heading into the 2019-20 season. Injuries delayed his start to the year, unfortunately, and he struggled to grab hold of a spot in the roster. Those 27 games with the Montreal Canadiens saw him put up only 2 points while moving back and forth between centre and left-wing.
As much as the shuffle came from Suzuki’s growth this season, Poehling’s lack of progression didn’t do himself any favours. You could attest that to the injury derailment, but it was clear the 21-year-old wasn’t ready for the full-time grind of what Claude Julien needed from him.