Team: Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
2020 Draft Prospect Ranking (Central Scouting): 8th Among North American Skaters
The 2020 NHL Entry Draft is one that screams raw talent. From offensively gifted forwards to silky smooth blue-liners, the upcoming NHL Draft should be one of the most memorable events in recent memory. If you’re ready for an exciting, dynamic defenseman who’s ready to take the National Hockey League by storm, look no further than Kaiden Guhle. A standout talent, Guhle has been turning heads this season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and now has his sights set on the bright lights of the NHL. So what is it about Guhle that makes him such an intriguing prospect? Let’s read on and find out!
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The Prince of St. Albert
Born and raised in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Guhle’s background just screams hockey. In fact, his older brother Brendan also plays in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks. However, unlike Brendan who was selected in the second round 51st overall by the Buffalo Sabres back in 2015, many “in the know” around Canadian junior hockey view Kaiden as a “lock” to go in the top-20 at this fall’s NHL Draft. Ranked as the number 8 North American prospect by NHL Central Scouting, Guhle presents a really interesting case for prospective teams in search of a game-changing D-man.
After “getting his feet wet” in the “dub” with Prince Albert last season tallying 17 points in 65 games, Guhle’s 2019-20 campaign was something to behold.
In 64 games this year, he scored 11 times, with 29 assists for 40 points to go along with a plus-23 rating and 56 penalty minutes. His skating ability, puck skills, and imposing play “wowed” crowds all season long. Guhle also made an appearance at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup for Team Canada notching one assist in 5 games. All indications even point towards Guhle being a “shoo-in” to don the red and white next winter at the annual IIHF World Junior Junior Hockey Championships. In the span of 18 months, Guhle has caught the proverbial eye of the WHL and Hockey Canada and is now on the radar of several NHL clubs. Not too shabby, wouldn’t you say?
Everything Kaiden Guhle does on the ice is quick, efficient, and high-quality. A gifted skater, Guhle makes his presence on the ice known each and every shift. Whether it’s his strong first pass, or ability to “shut it down” in his own end, Guhle is a mature and responsible two-way defenseman that will have various NHL teams salivating. Also, Guhle tips the scale at 6’3, 185 pounds, which is quite impressive for a youngster. Scouts absolutely love his size but marvel at his mobility and decision-making with the puck. Put all those together and you have yourself a pretty impressive young prospect.
This season has seen Guhle’s game develop at both ends of the rink along with his leadership abilities. A 40-point season in St. Albert was just the tip of the iceberg especially for someone not entirely known for their offensive upside. His knack for offense and confidence in all situations have been brought to the forefront this season along with his strong defensive play. Guhle’s shot is also very underrated along with the ability to get pucks through on goal. There certainly is a lot to like about Guhle both on and off the ice.
Guhle and the NHL
Kaiden Guhle possesses many strengths and attributes that will place him in good stead at the NHL level. He has the size, skating ability, and defensive awareness that should jump-start a long career as a pro. Right off the bat, Guhle is a “safe” choice which bodes well for prospective NHL general managers. If he performs well from the outset of an NHL training camp next season, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him crack the lineup. He’ll need to work on developing a consistent offensive game to fully complete his arsenal as a player. Besides that, Guhle is one of the most sought-after defensemen at this year’s draft. Who’s the lucky team that captures his services? We’ll find out in October!
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images