The Montreal Canadiens will have some good representation at the Memorial Cup later this week after three of their top prospects were able to win their respective championship series.
Kaiden Guhle of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Arber Xhekaj and Jan Mysak of the Hamilton Bulldogs are all headed to Saint-John in the coming days to prepare for the tournament, which is set to open on Sunday.
Kaiden Guhle and the Edmonton Oil Kings won Game 6 on Monday night, completing their march to a WHL title and booking their ticket to the Memorial Cup next week in Saint John. The Montreal Canadiens prospect was the Oil King’s pillar on defence, playing in all situations and coming up big in critical moments.
During his exceptional run in the WHL playoffs, Guhle was able to notch eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 19 games, on top of being a force on the defensive end. His eighth goal, the insurance marker in the championship-winning game, set a record for the most amount of goals recorded by an Oil Kings defenceman during the playoffs.
Kaiden Guhle‘s improved offensive play, clutch goal scoring and sound defensive ability earned him MVP honours during the WHL Playoffs. In being named MVP, Guhle became the first defenceman to win the award since former Edmonton Oil King Griffin Reinhart won it eight years ago.
His name is Kaiden Guhle and he's taking the #WHLChampionship by storm!
— The WHL (@TheWHL) June 14, 2022
Arber Xhekaj and Jan Mysak
The Hamilton Bulldogs were finally able to close out their series with the impressive Windsor Spitfires on Wednesday night with an impressive 6-1 victory.
A major figurehead in Hamilton’s ability to steamroll their opposition during these playoffs has been defenceman the Montreal Canadiens’ Arber Xhakaj, who’s been tasked with shutting down some of the most productive teams in the OHL. Xhekaj’s dominant physical style down low and his surprisingly powerful skating mechanics make him a dual-threat for the Bulldogs, as the 6’4 defenceman commands instant respect wherever he is on the ice.
He plays a very physical and punishing game in the defensive zone, but is also contributing in a very surprising way offensively for the Bulldogs, posting six goals and ten assists for 16 points in 18 games. In their previous series against the North Bay Battalion, Xhekaj really seemed to take the next step in his game during the playoffs, as he elevated his game in relation to the quality of competition. He’s continued to grow his game during these OHL playoffs and looks primed to leave a lasting impression in major junior before turning pro this fall. In the OHL Finals, Xhekaj was a force in all three zones, and even showed off some surprising creativity, like this exceptional feed on Jan Mysak’s goal in Game 7 on Wednesday night.
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) June 16, 2022
As for Jan Mysak, he was battling through an injury to start the OHL playoffs and had been out of action since May 8th before returning to the lineup on May 20th for Game 1 against the Battalion. It took Mysak a few games to find his bearings, but he returned to his productive ways as of Game 3. Playing in a versatile role for the Bulldogs, Mysak is being tasked with both defensive and offensive assignments and was instrumental in putting away the Battalion in Game 4 of the series in the OHL Conference Finals, potting a hattrick in impressive fashion.
He’s was a little more quiet in the final series against the Spitfires, likely due to lingering effects from the injury he sustained earlier in the playoffs. He’s showed strong resilience and perseverance in playing through the pain and still made a difference in a shutdown role. He was instrumental in shutting down the Spitfires’ Wyatt Johnston in the final game fo the playoffs, all while chipping in offensively when it mattered most.
The CHL Memorial Cup is set to begin on Sunday, June 20 at 6 pm ET, as the Hamilton Bulldogs are set to square off against the hos team, Saint John Sea Dogs.