MONTREAL - Ryan Poehling will be back on the ice on Wednesday night.
The 20-year-old centerman is participating in the Minnesota-based Da Beauty League (DBL), which kicks off its fourth season at Braemar Arena in Edina.
Created for elite players to hone their skills during the offseason, it features six teams competing weekly in fast-paced 4-on-4 action until late August.
Poehling, who is a member of Team BIC alongside the likes of NHLers Brock Boeser, Derek Stepan and Nate Schmidt, is making his DBL debut.
"It's hard to find good ice in the middle of the summer, so it's nice to be able to compete with guys like this. Even if it's just once a week, getting out there and feeling the puck is good," said Poehling, fresh off another standout performance at Development Camp in late June. "I consider myself a good skater. There's always a lot of room out there to make plays. It's all about that, just having fun and doing what you can with the time you have when you're out there."
Team BIC really is a family affair for the Poehling clan. Their roster also includes his twin older brothers, Nick and Jack, with whom he most recently shared a locker room at St. Cloud State University (NCAA) before turning pro and making his NHL debut in April.
"You never know when you're going to get to play with them, so every time that you do, you can't take it for granted. Hopefully, we'll get a few shifts together," said Poehling, of the unique on-ice reunion in their home state. "That's how I started playing hockey, with them. To do it when you're older isn't something everyone can do. I've enjoyed playing with them since I was a kid and I realize how blessed I am to be able to do it when I'm 20."
Poehling sees DBL as the perfect venue to get his competitive juices flowing again ahead of training camp.
The League is packed full of players on opposing teams who will surely put the young pivot to the test, including Jason Zucker, Jake Guentzel, Casey Mittelstadt, Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei.
No doubt Canadiens defenseman Mike Reilly won't take it easy on him. Neither will fellow Habs prospect Gustav Olofsson.
"I always consider myself a competitor and I like that stuff come summertime. For me, it's usually playing my brothers and my friends in golf and trying to beat them just to keep that fire in me," explained Poehling. "To do this now is something I look forward to. It will be good to stay intact with that come the real time."
NOTE: There is no live stream available for DBL games. Fans are invited to attend the contests in Edina or follow along on Twitter (@DaBeautyLeague) and Instagram (@dabeautyleague_official). For more information on DBL, click here.
Poehling has always enjoyed hitting the gym with Nick and Jack, and the trio continue their work together at the Training HAUS under the watchful eye of renowned sports performance coach Kirk Olson.
This is a big summer for the first-rounder, of course, who will be vying for a roster spot with the big club come September.
With that in mind, fitness is a top priority right now.
"I'm on the right track. Especially being at home this month, I don't want to take any steps back because I'm moving in the right direction. I just have to go to these workouts and do what I can - eat the right way, sleep the right way and just take care of my body," insisted Poehling. "You're a professional athlete now and you're getting paid to take care of your body and do what you do on the ice, so you always have to realize that."
Video: TOR@MTL: Poehling nets hatty, SO winner in NHL debut
One tweak Poehling did make training-wise with Olson was to put a real emphasis on conditioning.
"Coming from college to pro, you're playing twice as many games - maybe even more - than you play in college. For me to stay in shape and recover as quick as I can is something I'm trying to work on," said Poehling. "I want to continue growing into my body and feeling physically in shape heading back to Montreal."
And if he ever feels tired, Nick and Jack are right there to give him a friendly shove.
"I've always been two years younger than them. Without even trying to, you just want to fit in with your older brothers so they've always pushed me without even knowing it," concluded Poehling. "You always wanted to be the guy that no one sees holding them back, so for me to try to stay up with their pace, especially in the conditioning stints, is something I've tried to do my whole life. I think I've done a good job of it so far."
Based on the results so far, we'd have to agree.