The Montreal Canadiens have selected defenceman Kaiden Guhle with the 16th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
The big rearguard plays a physical game, and the combination of his strong skating and solid frame make him tough to play against and even tougher to knock off the puck.
Though not the offensive playmaker like some of his draft-class peers on the blue line, Guhle’s progression with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders — where old brother Brendan, now with the Anaheim Ducks, also played his junior hockey — has seen him jump into the play more and more, showing off his solid puck movement and booming shot from the point. Guhle is coming off a productive season with the Raiders in that regard, registering 11 goals and 40 points in 64 games.
“It was a huge honour,” Guhle said of hearing his name called by Montreal. “This team’s been around for a long time, so to be part of their organization is a huge honour. Very, very pleased and very happy to be a part of it.”
Sportsnet’s Eric Engels, when looking at possible targets for the Canadiens at No. 16 overall, had this insight into Guhle’s game:
Here’s a six-foot-three, 187-pound defenceman known for his skating. An Eastern Conference executive told us Monday that he’s a simple, smart player on the offensive end, but a particularly impressive one on the defensive side of the puck. A player who “has a good gap and is very effective in killing plays and getting his stick in the pass lanes.” The scout also said Guhle can play physical, he’s willing to put his body on the line to block shots and that “he looks like he’ll become a legitimate NHL player.”
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said the six-foot-three blue liner “checks all the boxes” for Montreal, summing up his skillset succinctly in an interview following the selection Tuesday night:
“Size, skating, range, brings some offensive skill to his game and and hard to play against — so he checks all the boxes for us,” Bergevin said of Guhle.
Bergevin has been busy throughout Draft Day — the GM stirred things up earlier on Tuesday when he traded forward Max Domi and a third-round pick for this year’s draft in exchange for forward Josh Anderson. Both players are RFAs in need of new contracts.