2019-20 Team: Prince Albert Raiders
Date of Birth: Jan. 18, 2002
Place of Birth: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 186 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
A former first-overall pick in the 2017 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, Kaiden Guhle is an interesting prospect. Many scouting services have him ranked as a high- to mid- first-round pick while others have him either on the edge of the first round or a second-round pick.
The verdict is still out. He might be one of those players that scouts might not be interested in, but they should be. NHL Central Scouting’s mid-season rankings have him as the next best North American defenseman behind Jamie Drysdale. His play at the CHL Top Prospects Game could be the reason his stock rose, as we saw exactly what type of player Guhle can be.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
His 40 points, in his second full season, led the Raiders in scoring among defensemen and he was 19th in league scoring at his position. While he improved offensively, his strong two-way presence is evident. From his play at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup to the Top Prospect Game, Guhle has shown that he can be a reliable defenseman who can be used in any situation.
Guhle’s strength is his defensive play. He already has great size for an NHL defenseman, which allows him to provide great gap control and separation whenever he’s in a battle with the opposition. He has a great stick, and his long reach creates turnovers to transition from defense to offense. He can lock down any open players in front of the net by tying them up and clearing space.
Guhle’s skating is also one of his best attributes as he has good speed to carry the puck into the offensive zone. Offensively he isn’t great, but he isn’t bad either. He’s can still find the score sheet and create scoring opportunities. He also makes long, smooth stretch passes to move the play forward. He has a strong and powerful shot, which he should utilize more to create more offense.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Kaiden Guhle- NHL Draft Projection
Guhle is known for his defensive play. While he produced more offense in his draft year, it may not translate well to the NHL. This could be why many teams may pass him over as they look for more offensive-minded, puck-moving d-men. While he may not be selected as high as many believe, he’s a worthy first-round pick.
“The defensive end of the ice is where Guhle excels best. He uses his size well, engaging physically and imposing his will at times at the junior level. He struggles at times against bigger players because he needs to develop strength but the foundation for a high-end defensive game is there.
Offensively, Guhle plays a stable, sturdy game. He can make a good pass to exit the defensive zone and start transitional play. Once into the offensive zone, Guhle plays a safe game. His biggest weapon is a big shot from the point. He has a bomb that he unleashes without hesitation and when he hits the net, it can be difficult for goalies to make the save if the net-front has any sort of traffic.
As a distributor from the backend, he is capable yet unspectacular. He lacks creativity and the offensive instincts that could make him a truly high-level player in the offensive zone. Guhle will be a blueliner who plays a safe defensive game and contribute in a tertiary role offensively.”- Tony Ferrari, Dobber Prospects
“There are several noteworthy aspects of Guhle’s game, but his skating has to be at or very close to the forefront. He’s definitely more successful creating time and space by moving east to west rather than north to south, but Guhle has excellent multi-directional mobility with or without the puck…
Offensively, Guhle generates most of his opportunities and set-ups via his hard, accurate shot. He doesn’t seem to favor either the wrist shot or the slapper, as both appear equally as effective at zipping through shooting lanes and creating rebounds or second chances… Guhle’s impact on defense covers many areas. His one-on-one play — gap control, footspeed, stick positioning, timing — is excellent, and he can finish off an opponent with a thunderous check that creates a change in possession. Other times, Guhle will fix them into the corner and contain them while using harassing stick checks until forward help arrives.”- Steve Kourianos, The Draft Analyst
“Possesses a pro mentality and is self-aware, knowing his strength is as a shut-down player whose offensive upside will develop.”- Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet
- Defensive Awareness
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Offensive Production
Guhle’s two-way presence will allow him to be a steady defenseman either in a second- or third- pairing role. He already excels in the defensive end, but his potential could be higher if he develops and rounds out his offensive game.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 2/5, Reward 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense- 6.5/10, Defense 8/10
Guhle was part of the 2018-19 Raiders team that won the WHL Championship in his first full season. He also represented Canada at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, winning a silver medal.