While it may have taken a little longer than some expected, the Habs have re-signed Ryan Poehling, announcing on Friday that they’ve inked the centre to a two-year contract. The deal will carry a $750,000 cap hit in the NHL and is a two-way deal next season ($225,000 in the AHL) and a one-way pact in 2022-23.
After playing in 27 games with Montreal in 2019-20, Poehling didn’t see any NHL action last season. Instead, he suited up in 28 games for Laval, notching 11 goals and 14 assists to lead the Rocket in scoring before being sidelined due to wrist surgery to repair an issue that had been lingering throughout the season.
The contract means that Poehling accepted less money than his qualifying offer in the NHL in exchange for a $155,000 increase in his AHL salary for next season. It’s a wise move on two fronts; the lower NHL salary helps his chances of being recalled if the Habs get capped out again while the higher AHL pay is notable since Poehling is waiver-exempt in 2021-22 and may very well spend some time with Laval next season.
Poehling is one of the more intriguing players heading into training camp next month. Montreal’s centre depth took a hit with the departure of Phillip Danault to Los Angeles and while Cedric Paquette (a centre who played on the wing last year) was added, the two aren’t at the same level. Jake Evans is going to be counted on to play a bigger role but a strong showing from Poehling in training camp would certainly get him into the mix to play behind Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi so there is a lot at stake for him in the upcoming preseason.