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Canadiens Have The Solution To Their Power Play Woes

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have the solution to their playoff woes, and his name is Kaiden Guhle.

The Canadiens have had an issue with their powerplay for some time. Dating back to the 2017-2018 season, the Canadiens have the worst power play success rate in the NHL over that span, with 15.3%.

They tried many changes to get their power play going, especially on their top wave, but, when Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield aren’t dominating, there’s no real power in said play.

The Montreal Canadiens continue to play a diamond formation on the powerplay (a 1-3-1 formation), and have seemingly tried every player they could to quarterback the top of the point. Micheal Matheson is a solid option, but the power play has never really been his thing, as he’s a top-end, 5-on-5 defenceman due to his transition.

Ironically enough, the player who has shown the most efficacy in playing the point on the top of a diamond power play is Kaiden Guhle, and just like in his junior career, all he needs is a shot.

Shooting Mechanics

The Montreal Canadiens haven’t had a defenceman that could walk the line on the power play and be a bonafide dual-threat for a very long time.

Kaiden Guhle has been running power plays for years, be it with the Prince Albert Raiders, WHL-champion Edmonton Oil Kings or Team Canada.

Having initially been viewed as a solid two-way defenceman, Guhle began to develop his shooting mechanics in junior as he was given more responsibility on the power play.

In his draft year (2019-2020), he put up an impressive 11 goals in 64 games as an 18-year-old; with five coming on the man advantage.

Guhle was extremely effective because opponents didn’t know what was about to happen. He looked like he could pass the puck, but would then quickly unload a strong, but precise wright-shot that could be the goaltender clean.

When Kaiden Guhle was placed on Team Canada’s second power play unit as an 18-year-old during the 2021 World Juniors, it raised many eyebrows, as there were more offensive defencemen available.

But, just like in the WHL, all Guhle needed was a chance to show he belonged, and he did just that, almost immediately (see the clip above).

As Guhle developed more over the following two years, he truly found his niche at the top of the diamond formation with the Edmonton Oil Kings; as his mobility and quick wrist-shot caused havoc in front.

Guhle has the one-timer, wrist-shot and slapshot necessary to be a true shooting option from the point, something the Canadiens lack at the moment (outside of Arber Xhekaj).

But that’s not the only thing Guhle has going for him.

Blue Line Mobility

Gule also has exceptional skating that allows him to jump on loose pucks and distribute them to teammates with great ease and in little time.

He’s able to glide across the blue line with the puck and assess his best options, before taking a decision. In doing so, he drives defenders to him, and opens up passing lanes in in the slot, something Cole Caufield desperately needs someone to do to finally get some breathing room on the man advantage.

Because of Guhle’s great anticipation, he’s able to pounce on pucks and beat defenders in 1-on-1 battles. This ensures that the Canadiens not only maintain possession of the puck for far longer than they have this season.

When Guhle moved from the Prince Albert Raiders to the Edmonton Oil Kings last season, he was able to perfect this part of his game, and it paid off most handsomely in the playoffs.

Guhle potted eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in just 19 games in the WHL playoffs en route to being named MVP. Although his defensive play was a big part of that nomination, his significant uptick in offensive production was the deciding factor.

Former Oil Kings coach Brad Lauer gave Guhle the chance to display his offensive talents, and the Oil Kings thrived. But the signs were always there.

History Making

It’s not like Kaiden Guhle hasn’t earned the opportunity so far this season, as he leads all rookie defencemen in the NHL with 12 even-strength points in just 31 games.

Want a more tantalizing stat? Guhle’s 12 even strength points, through just 31 games, is the second highest the Montreal Canadiens have seen since the 1990-1991 season. P.K. Subban had the highest in that span with 20 points, through 77 games.

Guhle is on pace to surpass even Subban’s even strength production, and despite being used solely at even strength and on the penalty kill, it may be more worthwhile for the youngster to have some, not all, of his defensive responsbilities shifted to Jordan Harris, so that he may gets some time on the top power play wave.

The normal counter argument about not wanting to give a rookie too much too quick is very valid here, but, if this season is truly about development, then it’s best to simply get out of Kaiden Guhle’s way.

He’s going to claim that spot on the top power play wave eventually, until a true power play quarterback is eventually acquired/developed (like Lane Hutson); and if history has shown us anything, he’d likely do a solid job in the role.

All Kaiden Guhle ever needs is an opportunity; he takes care of the rest.

MUST READ: Kaiden Guhle To Receive Calder Consideration

Top 3 Reasons Canadiens Guhle To Get Calder Consideration

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DB4

Gee, I wonder what changed in the 17/18 season that was different from the previous decade? Hire Andrei Markov to teach/coach the PP and specifically Guhle and the other dmen how to QB it.

Dave

Gervais wrote in his book….Markov was cheap and was the only player not tipping the equipment team.

Billy739

Pass

Markov was good dont get me wrong
But he was an Individual playing on a team.
Outside Subban and maybe Gorges he didnt have good chemistry with anyone.

I mean had you said Bring in Markov as an Associate Coach to help Burrows on the PP with Defense so he can stop playing 5 forwards on PP all the time. Markov’s PK ability where Burrows struggles could be bolstered by him

That said Markov talked smack disprespecting MTL in Russian Media because he fired his longtime agent taking over negotiations trying to strong arm the GM only to be told take a hike. No other team offered Markov a deal outside league minimum he declined to go back to Russia so he could play in the Olympics. About 2 months later the Russian Olympic committe told Markov he wasnt good enough to play for Russia. This all happened after his ex wife died suddenly and he became a single father during the season so granted he was lashing out but he never appoligized for his actions.

I just dont see how MTL can bring him back without him owning his mistakes.
Remember it wasnt us that screwed Markov, he screwed us just as we went out and secured him major pieces to play with in Weber,Petry and Morrow (who was a solid 3rd pair RD/7th D for us that year).

Instead with Markov gone we filled the void in a scurry signing Alzner.
Had Markov just let his agent handle things professionally we coulda avoided all that.

PanchoV

He looked like he could pass the puck, but would then quickly unload a strong, but precise wright-shot that could be the goaltender clean. 👀

He’s a good option. He’s already playing very tough minutes. I’d hate to burn him out.

Jimmy

Logan mailloux could be the answer.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jimmy
Jimmy

You could see the guy has offensive talent He hasn’t play that much hockey but he plays this years and plays two more years in Laval. He could be an important piece on the power play.

Maxman

He’s regressed in a big way this year

Lou Guay

Better to show Mailloux as a maybe instead of a real possible, until Bettman and company change their tune…
Montreal Canadiens: Logan Mailloux continues to be ineligible for the NHL (awinninghabit.com)

Last edited 1 month ago by Lou Guay
Billy739

I still think Ghule+Karlsson = Dream team

Erik Karlsson is available and exactly what we need.
High cap hit and i think 4-5 years term but still playing like a 8-9m dollar player who’s 2-2.5m overpaid as he faced a set back after signing with what i thought was a career ending injury.

Karlsson makes sense as long as we can move a big contract in the trade.

Maxman

An aging vet, makes sense, especially when this is the most talent this team has had in more than a generation. It’ll cost a lot more than a contract?! Strange

Maxman

I really don’t understand the; until a true pp quarterback gets traded for or drafted??? Why? He can’t grow into the roll? Lane Hutson won’t add that dimension? I really think so many writers lack insight on what players capabilities are. I could see both Harris and Xhekaj manning the second unit too. I’m wondering what took Marty so long to try Ghule on the first unit, he’s had that potential for a while. Give him the ball, let him run with it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Maxman
Curtis Ault

Seems the best option at the moment, Guhle is the best offensive defenseman 5 v 5. As you mentioned though, his ice time would have to be managed with respect to the PK.

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