122018 NHL Draft
Photo Credit: Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports

2020 Flames First Round Targets: Kaiden Guhle

The 2020 NHL Draft will be October 6 & 7, conducted remotely. The Calgary Flames have a first round selection and will pick 19th overall. In advance of the draft, we’ll be looking at some contenders to be selected at 19th.

Next up? Another defender from the Western Hockey League, Kaiden Guhle

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Scouting report

A product of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Guhle’s the younger brother of Anaheim Ducks farmhand Brendan Guhle. A key part of the Prince Albert Raiders, Guhle won a WHL Championship with the Raiders as a rookie in 2018-19. A year later, he’s one of the more exciting defensive prospects in the 2020 NHL Draft from the Dub.

Here’s a rundown on Guhle from Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst:

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 can generate a significant amount of power behind his shot without much backswing and his release for a defensemen is very quick. The vast majority of his goals came from shots above or near the circles. His passing, on the other hand, is very meat and potatoes, although he goes tape to tape from his forehand or backhand, especially when going D-to-D. Any lack of flair or pizzazz is balanced out with his soft hands and the poise to complete clean passes under intense pressure.

Over at Defending Big D, Derek Neumeier provided his insights on Guhle’s game:

It also needs to be mentioned that Guhle is an incredibly competitive player. He plays on his toes and with a chip on his shoulder, and is able to ramp up his intensity and engagement if the game gets heated. He’s not afraid to play physical, either, throwing big open-ice hits to knock opponents off both their feet and their games. Even though this kind of mentality isn’t as valuable as pure skill, it’s a useful trait nevertheless — it’s always good to have players who won’t get fazed in challenging moments, such as when they’re being deafened by 20,000 fans in an opposing barn late in a playoff game.

Simply put, Guhle is legit. He’s not as steady as Brandon’s Braden Schneider, but the peaks of his game are excellent. He’s smart. He’s competitive. He’s smart defensively. He’s got a heck of a shot.

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The numbers

Guhle had 11 goals and 40 points this season for Prince Albert, trailing behind only Schneider in terms of first-time eligible WHL defenders. He was 19th overall among WHL defenders in scoring and 13th in shots on goal.

16 of Guhle’s points were on the power play, with the remaining 24 at even strength – ranking among the top among draft eligible defenders in that category.

Availability and fit

Guhle’s a minute-munching, smart defender and every team needs more of that. (Though with Noah Hanifin, Juuso Valimaki, Connor Mackey and Oliver Kylington in the fold, you can imagine the Flames wondering if he can learn to shoot right instead of left.)

Guhle’s ranking is fairly all over the place. McKeen’s, ISS and Bob McKenzie have him 14th. He’s 24th on Craig Button’s list, 25th on FC Hockey’s and 20th on Dobber Prospects’. In other words, it’s a bit of a coin toss.

2020 First Round Targets

Braden Schneider