Montreal Canadiens: Ryan Poehling Hitting Stride With Laval Rocket

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 22: Ryan Poehling (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 22: Ryan Poehling (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens prospect Ryan Poehling has already gone through plenty of ups and downs in his short professional career. For the first time, he is finding consistency,

Poehling was the Canadiens first round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, being selected with the 25th overall pick. He played two more college seasons with St. Cloud State, and looked like a budding two-way NHL centre.

His college career ended prematurely in a huge upset as his #1 ranked behemoth was knocked out by the 16th ranked minnow in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in 2019. Poehling quickly signed with the Habs and made his NHL debut.

It was a meaningless game in a season that would see the Canadiens miss the playoffs. However, Poehling made it a memorable night. He scored a hat trick in his first taste of NHL action, against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada no less. The youngster would also score the winning goal in the shootout that night.

This was the same season that he won the MVP at the World Juniors after a dominating two-way performance that led USA to a gold medal.

Things were trending in the right direction when he landed at the Habs training camp in September 2019. He looked ready to step into an NHL role before a concussion against the Florida Panthers in a preseason game.

After that, things went straight down hill.

Poehling missed weeks with the injury and never seemed to recover the following year. He would play 36 games with the Laval Rocket in that 2019-20 season, but score just five goals and 13 points. He would also suit up for 27 NHL games and score just one goal and two points.

This season didn’t start out much better. Poehling began the year with the Rocket and had just four points after ten games. He looked to be skating well and making plays, creating offence, and being responsible defensively.

Then, the puck started going in the net too. Poehling earned a role on the Rocket’s top line with Joel Teasdale and Joe Blandisi on his wings. It’s been one of the best trios in the American Hockey League for close to a month.

In his last 11 games, Poehling has five goals, seven assists and 12 points. His linemates have been performing well too, with Blandisi scoring 13 points in his last 12 and Teasdale has 11 points in his last 12.

The Rocket have been the best team in the AHL this season, and are on a 10-0-1 run at the moment. A big part of that has been the play of their top line which has been propelled by Poehling.

The Canadiens first round pick in 2017 went through extreme highs and lows before the end of his first pro season. In his second season, he has found consistency. His line with Blandisi and Teasdale has been consistently great.

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It’s still too early to tell what the 22 year old centre will become down the road. But he’s now tied for 19th in AHL scoring and is starting to show the promise that he could become a two-way third line centre in the NHL.