The Montreal Canadiens might be kicking themselves right now wondering what could have been if they had given this kid a chance a little sooner.
On Saturday night the Toronto Maple Leafs were at the Bell Center to take on the Montreal Canadiens for the very last game of the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey regular season. It was a meaningless match up between one team destined for the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and another destined for the golf course, but the Canadiens came into this one with one new trick up their sleeve on the evening.
That trick came in the form of rookie forward Ryan Poehling, a young player that some fans had been clamoring to see for some time now. In spite of the fact that he had been drafted all the way back in the very first round of the 2017 National Hockey League Entry Draft Poehling had not played a single game as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, not at any level in fact. Instead Poehling continued to play college hockey for St. Cloud State until they were eliminated a little earlier, eventually signing his deal with the Canadiens just a few short days ago.
The Canadiens it seems could have used his help a little sooner. Poehling's NHL debut was nothing short of extraordinary, and that is putting it mildly. The rookie forward would not only help his team claw back into a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on multiple occasions, he would do it 3 different times during regulation on his way to a hat trick in his first career NHL game. Needless to say Peohling may have immediately made himself one of the most popular players on the entire Habs roster with fans likely salivating at the idea of what kind of production he can bring for them come the 2019 - 2020 NHL regular season.
Now I must add that I believe this to be an extreme outlier, especially when you consider that during the entire 2018 - 2019 season with St. Cloud State Poehling recorded just 8 goals over a 36 game stretch of play. That being said I also think it would be unfair to suggest that this was pure luck, and like many others I will be interested to see in what he can do in a full rookie season.