Name: Austin Poganski
Weight: 198 lbs.
2013-14 Team: Tri-City Storm
From: St. Cloud, MN
NHL Central Scouting: #100 (-28 from midterm)
Craig Button: #93 (+3 from midterm)
Austin Poganski is a simple, meat-and-potatoes winger whose game is centered on his intense work ethic. Already filling out, Poganski is a stout 6’1” and 198 pounds, a frame that suits his grinding style. It was a tale of two seasons in 2013-14 for Poganski: struggling early on, he put up only 5 points in his first 19 games with the Tri-City Storm before getting over the hump and posting 26 points in his last 36.
A power forward, Poganski’s strengths include good net-driving ability, a quick release off the rush, and the willingness to challenge defenders in the corners or in front of the net. He is a strong, bull-ish skater who is tough to stop once he’s gathered a head of steam.
On the downside, Poganski’s skating lacks the acceleration and agility needed to be taken advantage of outside the rush. His two-way game also needs work, he’s more than willing to check and cover a man but low defensive awareness (and the aforementioned lack of agility) makes him easy to slip away from for opposition.
One final question mark surrounding Poganski is how much offense he will be able to carry over from junior to pro and if the rest of his game can make up for it. Borderline production in his draft year may hint that his future could be as more of a grinder than a power forward, though he will need to improve defensively to fit into that role.
A likely 4th-5th round selection, Poganski is a low-risk pick for a team looking to inject some energy and work ethic into its prospect pool. He is committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2014-15 season.
“Poganski is a strong, north-south winger with some jam in his game. He skates well and is hard to contain when he barrels down the wing. He drives to the net hard and isn’t afraid to get into rough areas. He has a quick shot and hands to handle the puck.” –Future Considerations
“Poganski’s size makes him a pretty versatile pro prospect. His ceiling would be as a second line power forward that contributes on the power play, but could also be effective as a heavy-hitting third or fourth line forward, provided he gets better on his own end of the ice.” –Chris Dilks, SB Nation
“Poganski has solid hands and displays a quick shot, but he is still working on his accuracy. What makes him very dangerous though is his effectiveness in dirty areas and at the net front… A very intense player with aggressiveness and a great work ethic.” –Mike Repertorio, Pro Puck Prospects