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Ryan Poehling was “a bit shocked” by assignment to Laval

The Canadiens’ 2017 first-round pick felt he did all the right things to stay in Montreal.

NHL: SEP 28 Preseason - Senators at Canadiens Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When the dust settled on the Montreal Canadiens’ training camp, it was the promising Ryan Poehling who was, unfortunately, the odd man out.

“I was upset I would say,” Poehling said. “I wasn’t happy getting sent down, because I felt like I did all the right things; did what they asked. And I thought I did them well. So, I was a bit shocked I would say.”

Following the cuts of goaltender Charlie Lindgren and Charles Hudon on Monday, the Canadiens found themselves with 24 skaters. The team needed to cut the roster by one more to get to the league-mandated 23, leading to Poehling becoming the final cut and being sent to the American Hockey League. He’s disappointed, but he knows it’s part of the process.

“You can’t be discouraged in this league,” he continued. “You’re going to get knocked down a few times. You see all the guys that have great careers. It’s not like just straight rainbows and stuff for them. It’s going to be a roller-coaster of events throughout the season and throughout your career, and you just have to stick with it.”

Poehling had already made an impression from his National Hockey League debut against the Toronto Maple Leafs on the final day of the 2018-19 season. He was taking strides during this year’s pre-season and might have had an inside track on a spot with the big club out of camp. A concussion sustained during a game against the Florida Panthers kept him from building on that impression.

“I never had a concussion before,” he said. “Kind of scary, the whole mental side of it. I feel great though. I finally feel like myself. First three or four days after the hit, I didn’t feel like myself and it’s kind of scary, just [felt] anxious. To feel like myself again, it’s good to feel.”

Would Poehling have been a member of the Canadiens had he not suffered the concussion?

“We can speculate all you want,” Poehling said. “The fact of the matter is, I am here. I don’t like to [deal with] ifs, ands, or buts. The only thing I can say is that everything happens for a reason. I think that’s just part of the reason.”

Poehling will likely make his AHL debut Friday night against the Cleveland Monsters at Place Bell. If general manager Marc Bergevin’s prediction is correct, his stay in Laval will be a short one.

“It’s good. It’s definitely reassuring for sure,” Poehling said of his general manager’s endorsement, of which he hadn’t heard prior to Wednesday. “You figure you did all the right things and it just doesn’t go your way. But, sometimes in life that’s what happens. You just get dealt a bad hand. I’m going to deal with it, though, and just do what I can here.

“I ended up in a great spot in Laval,” he continued. “We’ve got a great team, a lot of great players. It’s a fun environment so far and I’m just going to continue to hope for the best.”

Could it be a repeat performance of his NHL debut from back in April?

“I don’t know,” Poehling said with a smile. “I guess time will tell, right?”