Ryan Poehling’s sophomore professional season has come to a premature end as the Habs announced on Thursday that he will soon undergo season-ending wrist surgery. A timetable for his recovery will be revealed after he has the procedure.
Last year was a tough one for the 22-year-old as he split his time between Laval and Montreal and never really got going offensively. While he was brought to the bubble in the summer, he never got an opportunity to play while every other skater did which ended his season on a sour note.
However, the emergence of Jake Evans and Montreal’s other forward depth allowed Poehling to stay with the Rocket all season. While he undoubtedly would have liked to have been up with the Habs, this may wind up being best for his development. The consistent time in an offensive role resulted in him taking on a bigger role as the season went on and as things stand, he leads Laval in scoring with 11 goals and 14 assists in 28 games, three points ahead of Jordan Weal.
Poehling is the fourth Laval forward to be ruled out for the year in recent weeks, joining Joel Teasdale, Joseph Blandisi, and Michael Pezzetta. Those three are currently on Montreal’s taxi squad, allowing Laval to still be able to dress 12 healthy forwards. Poehling had been up briefly last week, presumably for the same reason.
Poehling will be a restricted free agent this summer but will not have arbitration rights or even the ability to sign an offer sheet, giving him a class 10.2(c) designation instead of a standard RFA one. While his qualifying offer will be $874,125, he may be better off doing what others in his shoes have done in recent years, taking a lower NHL cap hit to get a higher AHL salary and increase the likelihood of a recall along the way. With Montreal projecting to be right up against the cap again next season, that small difference between the qualifying offer and the $750,000 minimum salary could go a long way towards his NHL future. Poehling will remain waiver-exempt for next season.