In the first seven years of the SB Nation Mock Draft those of us here at The Copper & Blue have made a number of picks early in the first round. There was a third overall selection, another at number four, one in the number seven slot, and I think a few first overall picks. I don’t recall exactly how many first overall picks there were, after a couple they all start to blur together. So, it’s quite a treat this year to have to wait until the 22nd overall selection to step up to the podium and say ...
Player: Ryan Poehling
Height: 6’2” Weight: 185lbs
Team: St. Cloud State (NCHC)
Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 13th among North American skaters
2016-17 Stats: 35 GP, 7-6-13, 12 PIM, -8
What Is There To Like
Poehling is a strong skater and is often described as having a quick first step, something that helps him come away with more than his fair share of loose pucks. Even though he weighs in at just 185lb currently, at 6’2” he can more than hold his own in battles along the boards as well. That size, and the reach that comes along with it, helps him take the time to find a good lane and make a strong pass.
What might be concerning to some is his offensive production last season. At first glance those 13 points in 35 games might not look like much, in fact, on his team he ranked ninth in scoring last season. But Poehling is almost a year younger that anyone else on the team which should help to put those numbers into perspective.
In March, Jeff Marek ranked Poehling 24th and has this to say about him.
Playing as a true freshman is challenging, but this hard-working, two-way centre is working through it. Got off to a slow start, but has improved steadily all season. Competes hard and has offensive skill.
What Will He Be
The offensive production can be explained away to a point, but even then Poehling shouldn’t be confused for an elite level offensive talent. If we’re being honest, if he had that skill set to go along with a 6’2” frame he likely wouldn’t still be available when the Oilers step up to the podium to make the 22nd pick of the draft. That said, Poehling is a strong two-way player, the kind of player that some might call a safe pick. Safe can be death when it comes to the NHL Draft, but this isn’t a particularly strong draft, and if you look down the middle of the Oilers roster today, finding a strong middle-six centre in this year’s draft might not be the worst outcome.
What He Needs To Do
Obviously at 6’2” and 185lbs, Poehling needs to add some muscle mass to his body before he’ll be ready to move on to tougher competition. The same is true of about 99% of the players that’ll be drafted this year. Aside from that it’d be nice to see him shoot the puck a little more often. SBNation College Hockey noted this in their profile of Poehling.
Poehling finished his season with St. Cloud State with only 37 shots in 35 games, despite seeing decent time on the power play. He has the ability to create shooting opportunities for himself with his skating ability, but didn’t quite show the aggressiveness to look for his own shot, and sometimes struggled to put himself in a position where he could receive a pass for an open shot.
Poehling isn’t the flashy first round pick that Oilers fans are used to, but he’s the kind of player that this team is going to need down the road. On some teams, he might project as a second line options, for the Oilers though, he’s more likely a third line option which says more about the players in front of him than it does about him. And being a centre there is always the possibility of him playing on the wing on the second line if need be. It’s not what we’re used to. It might be safer than some fans like. But this is a pick that we’re very happy with.
The Mock Draft So Far
- New Jersey Devils, via All About The Jersey, select center Nico Hischier.
- Philadelphia Flyers, via Broad Street Hockey, select center Nolan Patrick.
- Dallas Stars, via Defending Big D, select center Casey Mittelstadt.
- Colorado Avalanche, via Mile High Hockey, select defenseman Miro Heiskanen.
- Vancouver Canucks, via Nucks Misconduct, select forward Gabriel Vilardi.
- Vegas Golden Knights, via Knights On Ice, select forward Owen Tippett.
- Arizona Coyotes, via Five For Howling, select defenseman Timothy Liljegren.
- Buffalo Sabres, via Die By The Blade, select defenseman Cale Makar.
- Detroit Red Wings, via Winging It In Motown, select center Cody Glass.
- The Florida Panthers, via Litter Box Cats, select winger Kristian Vesalainen.
- The Los Angeles Kings, via Jewels From The Crown, select center Nick Suzuki.
- The St. Louis Blues*, via St. Louis Game Time, select winger Lias Andersson.
- The Winnipeg Jets, via Arctic Ice Hockey, select defenseman Juuso Välimäki.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning, via Raw Charge, select winger Kailer Yamamoto.
- The New York Islanders, via Lighthouse Hockey, select center Elias Pettersson.
- The Calgary Flames, via Matchsticks & Gasoline, select winger Klim Kostin.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs, via Pension Plan Puppets, select winger Eeli Tolvanen.
- The Boston Bruins, via Stanley Cup of Chowder, select defenseman Nicolas Hague.
- The San Jose Sharks, via Fear The Fin, select center Michael Rasmussen.
- The Carolina Hurricanes*, via Canes Country, select center Martin Necas.
- The New York Rangers, via Blueshirt Banter, select defenceman Erik Brännström