The Montreal Canadiens announced that their most promising prospect on defence, Kaiden Guhle, is set to miss at least eight weeks.
It’s an unfortunate outcome for the soon-to-be 21-year-old, as he was having an impressive rookie campaign for the Montreal Canadiens.
Guhle left last week’s game against the Florida Panthers following an awkward hit that seemed to lead to a knee or leg injury, and did not take part in practice in Washington or Nashville in the final games of the Canadiens road trip.
Guhle was spotted walking down the tunnel with a little help from a trainer following the incident, which involved Florida Panthers superstar Sasha Barkov; a sign that the injury was as serious as it looked on the ice.
And that's likely the end of Kaiden Guhle's night as his leg and knee bend awkwardly on a hit with Barkov pic.twitter.com/s6jwtcIBYn
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) December 30, 2022
Imagining Kaiden Guhle would be a top-pair defenceman for the Canadiens this summer would have seemed like a longhshot, but he rose to the challenge.
Guhle not only took on a top-4 role right from the start of his very young NHL career, but he forced Canadiens management to exempt him from the ongoing rotation of defencemen.
Guhle logged an average of 20:32 so far this season, with the grand majority coming at even strength. In 34 games this season, he notched a goal and 13 assists for 14 points; which is a pretty impressive stat line for a 20-year-old in this league. In fact, over the last 30 years, only P.K. Subban had accumulated more as a rookie defenceman.
He played with great poise and has shown the maturity of a seasoned veteran on the ice so far this season, which prompted onlookers to include him in the conversation for the Calder Memorial trophy.
He still has time to come back and finish the season off strong in March, but one need wonder what could have been.
The Canadiens just had David Savard return from injury, which is likely to patch the massive loss of Guhle at the blueline.
However, with Mike Matheson requiring another two weeks to rehab his injury, the Canadiens could use this time to test some of their younger players, recently acquired prospect, Nicolas Beaudin, who has been impressive with the Laval Rocket this season.
The 23-year-old has caught fire as of late, posting two goals and 11 assists for 13 points in just 15 games this season. In no way would he be able to replace what Guhle brings, which applies to every defenceman currently under contract with the Canadiens, but it would be interesting to see if his offensive game could translate to the NHL, as they desperately need a Power play quart
The Canadiens would have the perfect opportunity to see what they have in a young man that has hit the ground running in the Montreal Canadiens’ organization.