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Poehling 'in awe' after being drafted by Canadiens

First-round pick making impression on 'great organization'

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Ryan Poehling said he blacked out when the Montreal Canadiens selected him in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft in June.

And that was just the start for the 18-year-old center.

"When I got here, I was in awe," the No. 25 pick said during Montreal's development camp this month. "Coming from college, where we do have a nice locker room, but to see what's here, it's not even comparable. This week kind of builds on that reality factor, and it's a great organization."

His arrival in Montreal and contact with Canadiens fans quickly dispelled any notion he had that he would enjoy any measure of anonymity here.

"They all just go crazy and I haven't even played here, so it's special," Poehling said. "I just got drafted by them and they're just crazy about me, so I think that's pretty cool, how I haven't even proven anything and they still love me. But I think that just adds more pressure on myself, which I enjoy, and I think that's what I've got to hold myself accountable to."

Last season as a freshman at St. Cloud State, Poehling had 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 35 games. He also got to be teammates with his twin 20-year-old brothers, Jack and Nick.

The Poehling brothers played together at Lakeville (Minn.) North High School during Ryan's freshman season and made it to the state championship game, which they lost. The following season, after Jack and Nick graduated, Ryan helped Lakeville North win the state title.

Poehling said he is looking forward to playing with his brothers again as he strives to reach the NHL.

"I want to fully develop as a player before I make that jump, because when you do get to the National Hockey League, it's not a development league anymore. You better be ready to go," Poehling said. "So for me, I see myself playing at St. Cloud a year, maybe two."

Martin Lapointe, the Canadiens director of player personnel, said Poehling's future is bright.

"From what I have seen this year, Ryan Poehling is going to play in the National Hockey League, that's for sure," Lapointe said. "I can't say when, but if he develops every year, we're going to have a good hockey player who can make hockey plays, a big guy (6-foot-2, 183 pounds) who is able to skate too. I'm really impressed with him."

Poehling, a member of the United States team that won the 2017 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, is one of 42 players invited by USA Hockey to compete in the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan, from July 28 to Aug. 5.

If selected, he would try to help the United States defend the gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. The 2017 team included St. Cloud State teammate Jack Ahcan, and St. Cloud State's Bob Motzko returns as coach.

"It's cool seeing one of your best buddies play at such an elite level and to have that chance," Poehling said. "I mean, you want to take advantage of that, so I think that's something I want to do for sure."

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