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Graduated Prospect: Brendan Guhle
By Thomas Harrington
Brendan Guhle was one of the two pieces that Anaheim acquired from Buffalo for Brandon Montour. He once was one of Buffalo’s top defensive prospects, but he became expendable when they drafted Rasmus Dahlin first overall last June.
Buffalo selected Guhle in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, 51st overall. He spent the next couple of seasons in the WHL and made his NHL debut in the 2016-2017 season, suiting up for three games with the Sabres. He was a full-time pro in the 2017-2018 season, splitting the year between Buffalo and Rochester. With the Sabres, he played in 18 games and had five assists. With the Americans, Guhle played in 50 games and scored eight goals and 26 points. This past season, before being traded to Anaheim, Guhle again split time between Buffalo and Rochester. He only got into two NHL games with Buffalo and went scoreless. He played in 50 AHL games for Rochester and scored five goals and 27 points.
Once arriving in Anaheim, Guhle was immediately put into Anaheim’s top four, essentially taking Montour’s spot in the lineup. In his third game with the Ducks, he played over 24 minutes, a career high. He played next to Cam Fowler quite a bit. Unfortunately, in Guhle’s fifth game with the Ducks, he was injured and did not return until the final game of the season. He still wasn’t 100% in that game and played just over six minutes. Despite the low ice time in a couple of games, he was still second among Anaheim rookies with 16:08 ice time per game.
Guhle was one of Anaheim’s four call-ups from San Diego after the trade deadline, and he was eligible to play in San Diego during the Calder Cup Playoffs. Unfortunately, Guhle’s injury kept him out of San Diego’s postseason.
Right now, Anaheim’s top four consists of three players: Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and Josh Manson. If Anaheim doesn’t sign or trade for a top-four defender this summer, I do believe that Guhle will be in Anaheim’s top four next season. If the Ducks do try to upgrade their defense and bring someone else in, then Guhle will be at worst on Anaheim’s bottom pair.
Despite not playing a ton of games with the Ducks, one thing that stood out to me about Guhle was his ability to get his shot on net. There were many times this season when the offense from Anaheim’s blueline was completely non-existent. One of the reasons for this was their inability to get their shots through traffic and on net. In his six games as a Duck, Guhle had 14 shots, and the only game where he didn’t record a shot on goal was his final game of the season. If he can keep getting the puck on net at a similar rate this season, he will likely lead Anaheim’s defense in shots on goal and pick up some points as a result.
Guhle will never be a top pairing defenseman, but he plays a solid two-way game. He’s a good skater, gets his shot on net, and uses his size effectively. One of his greatest strengths is his speed, something that Anaheim desperately needed more of this past season.
Guhle has one more year left on his entry-level contract and he will be a restricted free agent next summer. Assuming he spends this coming season with the Ducks, expect him to be re-signed on a one-way deal. If the Ducks think he’s part of their future, it will be a long one. If there is still some doubt, then he’ll likely get a short, one- or two-year bridge deal.
The next graduated prospect will be Max Jones.
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June 18th, 2019