It’s going to be a bit of a long shot for the San Jose Sharks to draft Kaiden Guhle.
With their first-round pick most likely being somewhere in the 20s in the 2020 NHL Draft, the San Jose Sharks have a very slim chance at being able to draft defenseman Kaiden Guhle.
Guhle is the younger brother of Anaheim Ducks’ defenseman Brendan Guhle and was the first-overall pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft. Now, 18-years-old, he’s more than likely to go early in the first round of this year’s NHL Draft.
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Last year, Guhle had an underwhelming sophomore season for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL scoring just 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) in 65 games. This season, the Alberta native took a big step forward scoring 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 64 games.
Guhle is a great skater — he has great speed and acceleration. This speed and acceleration allow him to lead the rush or pinch on a play and still get back on defense. Guhle’s speed also allows him to have great gap control and makes it very difficult for his opposition to beat him one-on-one.
His great skating ability doesn’t end with just his speed and acceleration — Guhle also has very good agility, edge work, balance, and lower-body strength.
Guhle’s agility and edge work allow him to transition quickly while his balance and lower-body strength make him difficult to knock off the puck and allow him to win net-front and board battles.
Besides his skating, Guhle also has good stickhandling and passing ability. His stickhandling allows him to lead the rush and avoid oncoming forecheckers by making a move. His passing allows him to make accurate passes — even after making a move.
Guhle also comes with good wrist and slap shots. He knows to keep his slap shot low and on net for deflections and rebounds and he likes to use his wrist shot after sneaking down to the top of the circles from the point.
With his stickhandling and agility, Guhle can also change angles and create new passing and shooting lanes.
With his 6-foot-3, 187-pound stature Guhle can lay down a big hit. However, he’s smart enough to know not to pull himself out of position to body check his opposition.
Guhle isn’t afraid to be physical but he usually relies on his positioning. He’s very good at getting into passing and shooting lanes and causes turnovers with his long stick.
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Guhle doesn’t seem to have many weaknesses but one that sticks out is his offensive creativity. Due to his lack of creativity, Guhle doesn’t put up as many points as he could.
San Jose Sharks Prediction
Guhle is ranked in the top-15 by at least three different scouts and the top-10 by at least one scout — No. 14 by ISS Hockey and McKeen’s Hockey and No. 8 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters) — so it seems very unlikely that the Sharks will have an opportunity to draft him.
However, if the Sharks are able to draft him, he has the potential to be an elite top-pair, minute-eating, shutdown, two-way defenseman in the NHL.
After being drafted, Guhle will most likely have to spend at least a season in the AHL, unless he really wows the coaching staff in training camp and preseason.