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Canadiens Top Prospect Kaiden Guhle Turning Heads In WHL Playoffs

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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens top prospect Kaiden Guhle has been impressive with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL Playoffs this spring, as the 6’2 defender continues to impress with his rapid improvement in his transition and offensive game.

The 20-year-old has looked like a completely different player since being traded from the Prince Albert Raiders to the Edmonton Oil Kings on December 2. The former 16th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft has been the best defenceman on his club and has helped shut down some of the biggest names in a very competitive WHL this spring. Under new head coach Brad Lauer, Guhle has been utilizing his speed and his reach far more, especially on the rush, to push the tempo of the game up the ice very quickly, often catching the opposition off-guard, like the play below.

After posting 40 points in his 42 games this season, Guhle seems to have picked up right where he left off offensive in the post-season, posting four goals and seven assists for 11 points in as many games. The increase in offensive opportunities comes from him being far more proactive with the puck. In past years, he would overthink what to do with the puck, often cycling back down below the goal line to evade forechecking pressure, but now he’s more assertive and is making much better decisions. He’s looking to get more pucks on net, strategically looking for tip-ins or slap passes, and possesses his own cannon of a shot from the point.

By diversifying the way he’s brought offence, which was primarily through his one-timer or wrist shot from the point, Guhle has been able to rapidly develop his offensive game in a much more translatable way to the NHL style of play.

The Oil Kings are currently in a heated 3rd-round series with the Winnipeg Ice, two of Canadian Major Junior’s deepest teams. Guhle has been tasked with attempting to shut down one of the most dangerous offensive units in the league, all while playing an effective transition game. Edmonton currently has a 2-1 series lead over the Ice and are set to play Game 4 tonight in Edmonton, and it should be very interesting to see if Guhle and the Oil Kings can ward off this fiesty Ice roster.

Guhle hasn’t had WHL playoff experience like this since his 16-year-old season playing for the WHL champion Prince Albert Raiders in 2018-2019. His return to the WHL’s spring dance has allowed him to impose himself even more so on the pace of the game and this prime developmental time can only help the Montreal Canadiens down the line. General manager Kent Hughes has mentioned Guhle’s name several times as a player the organization hold in high esteem, and these performances are likely to cement his status as the top prospect defensive prospect in the organization headed into Training Camp this September. With Guhle set to make the jump to pro hockey next season, the improvements he’s made to his game over the last five months will serve him well in eventually establishing himself as a bonafide top-4 defenceman in the NHL.

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habbernack

Jackeye is also having a great playoffs. To night Habs prospects play against each other. Phoenix vs Islanders.

Last edited 6 months ago by habbernack

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