Things tend to find their state of equilibrium.On May 9th, sophomore forward Patrick Russell announced he would be signing an entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL. On May 11th, SCSU recruit Ryan Poehling announced he would accelerate his high school education, forgo his senior year at Lakeville North High School and join his brothers Nick and Jack at SCSU for the 2016-17 hockey season. In the departing Russell, the Huskies lose a 6’2″ 205 pound power forward that put up 41 points in 41 games for SCSU in 2015-16. In the incoming Poehling, the Huskies gain a 6″2″ 185 pound forward who is strong on the puck with a knack for great playmaking and put up 62 points in 28 high school games in 2015-16.
Obviously, the loss of Russell had the Huskies in somewhat of a quandary in terms of incoming forwards with recruits Blake Lizzotte and Easton Brodzinski headed to Fargo of the USHL for 2016-17 and the only certainties being Jake Wahlin of the Tri-City Storm and brothers Nick and Jack Poehling of the Green Bay Gamblers. With the Poehling brothers a very close knit group, a combination of factors apparently made the timing right for all three to join the Huskies for the 2016-17 season. Unfortunately for Lakeville North High School, they lose a certain Mr. Hockey finalist and for the Lincoln Stars who drafted Poehling #1 in the 2015 USHL Phase 1 Draft, a top end player who could be a high draft choice in the 2017 NHL entry draft.
Poehlings’ high school numbers were impressive producing 38 points in 25 games as a sophomore in helping lead the Panthers to an undefeated 31-0 season and a State Class AA Championship. Brothers Jack, Nick and Ryan combined for 8 points in the 4-1 win over Duluth East in earning the state title. This past season, Poehling again was one of the top offensive performers with 20 goals, 34 assists and 54 points in 25 regular season games and 8 points in the playoffs. Following the high school season, Poehling found further success with the Lincoln Stars with 2 goals and 2 assists in nine games and +4. Lincoln Stars GM Jon Hull described Poehling as a “big and talented elite skater who distributes the puck well and plays fast.” He further commented “to be able to play college hockey at age 17 speaks volumes about Ryan’s ability and character…during his time in Lincoln we witnessed a kid far beyond his years.”
Poehling will enroll at SCSU as a 17 year-old and will turn 18 about three months into the season. This is unusual but not unprecedented as current Husky, Robby Jackson had turned 18 about a month prior to the 2015-16 season, University of Minnesota recruit, Casey Middelstadt recently announced he would return to high school play after considering accelerating his high school education to skate for the Gophers. Former U of MN player and current Minnesota Wild player Jordan Schroeder also accelerated his high school education to enroll a year early for the Gophers.
All three Poehling brothers made verbal commitments to skate for the Huskies on the same day in February of 2014. Jack and Nick just completed their first full season with the Gamblers after being prolific scorers at the high school level. Combined, the trio of brothers accumulated 406 points during regular season play at Lakeville North High School. This past season, Nick Poehling produced 15 goals and 28 assists for 43 points in 58 USHL games and was +11. Jack compiled 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points in 58 games and was +3. Nick sustained a left knee injury on April 3rd requiring surgery and it is expected he could be back in action by November.
SCSU has had quite a recent pipeline from the Lakeville, MN area including Charlie Lindgren, Blake Winiecki, David Zevnick, the Poehling brothers and future commit, Henry Enebak.