The Montreal Canadiens have signed their top draft pick, inking Kaiden Guhle to a three-year entry-level contract. Guhle was selected with the 16th pick in the draft earlier this month and plays for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. The contract will have an average annual value of $925K and includes Schedule “A” performance bonuses up to a maximum of $420K in each year.
Guhle, 18, scored 40 points in 64 games for the Raiders this season, but actually is much more known for his play on the defensive side of the puck. The 6’2″ defenseman uses his brilliant mobility and active stick to shut down rushes quickly and effectively before moving the puck to his forwards instead of carrying it into the offensive zone himself. He can play both special teams but once again excels more in the penalty-killing role and could become a true shutdown defender in the NHL.
Obviously, that goal will need some development time, something that is very up in the air at this point. It’s not clear when the WHL will return for the 2020-21 season, meaning Guhle’s development may have to come somewhere else. First on his schedule could be the World Juniors, where he could be a big piece of Team Canada. He was included in the virtual camp this summer and has a history with the national team, winning silver at the most recent Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.