C Ryan Poehling, St. Cloud State (NCHC)
CSS Rank: 13th among North American Skaters
St. Cloud State Huskies centre Ryan Poehling may not have exceeded expectations playing his first season in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, but he certainly wasn't out of his element. He joined the club to play with his 20-year-old twin siblings Nick and Jack - also both freshmen - mustering seven goals and six assists for 13 points in 35 games.
The Lakeville, MN, product did, however, raise eyebrows in 2016-17 while playing internationally. At the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, he filed four goals and seven points in five games. At the 2017 U-18 World Championship, he had five points in seven matches. On the ice, the pivot is known to use his quickness to his advantage and isn't afraid of digging in the dirty areas.
Poehling's ability to keep up in college as a freshman was a testament to his skating but another one of his strengths is hand-eye coordination. Many of the 18-year-old's goals this campaign were by altering the puck's path with deflections and tips. Although many prognosticators are saying Poehling lacks top-end skill, there is a sense a belief that he can become a mainstay in the National Hockey League with more development.
Listed as 6-foot-2 and 177-pounds, Poehling's game is influenced by Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
"There are parts of his game that are behind where they should be. But that being said, college hockey was not too good for him. He played in one of the best conferences, and even though he didn't excel at times, the pace of the game was never too fast for him." - Scout via The Hockey News.
"I don't think he's going to be a high-end scorer. But I think he's going to be a 55- or 60-point guy." - Scout via The Hockey News.