The Montreal Canadiens have announced a major surprise for tonight's contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which just so happens to also be the final game of the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season for a Habs team that has been eliminated from playoff contention.
In what should have been an entirely meaningless game for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens fan bases, aside from bragging rights of course, the Montreal Canadiens have just announced that they will be unveiling what is expected to be a huge part of the organizations future. According to an official announcement from the Montreal Canadiens organization it now appears that 20 year old NHL prospect Ryan Poehling will be making his NHL debut in the final game of the regular season. This is clearly an attempt by the Canadiens to get the young man a taste of what the game is like in the big leagues, but for fans of both the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs it will provide an opportunity to see one of the Canadiens players of the future in what would have otherwise been a rather underwhelming contest between these two squads.
Poehling is of course Montreal's first round draft selection from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and has been playing college hockey for St. Cloud State since that draft. It was reveled earlier that Poehling would be signing with the Canadiens after St. Cloud State's season came to an end but after the Canadiens did not initially utilize him in their line up the expectation was that he would not see NHL action until at least the following season. It is unclear if this was always the plan or if the Canadiens have simply seized the opportunity presented to them by the fact that the outcome of tonight's is relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
In his most recent season for St. Cloud State the young center appeared in 36 games. During that stretch of play he would recorded 8 goals and 23 assists for a total of 31 points, finishing the season with a plus minus rating of +12.