Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Kaiden Guhle has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs announced the signing Tuesday morning.
The 18-year-old product of Sherwood Park, Alta., was selected in the first round (16th overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft back on October 6.
“All season you wait for that moment and you work for that,” Guhle said of hearing his name called in the NHL Draft. “It was definitely a moment I’ll never forget.”
The 6-foot-3, 184-pound defenceman has been nothing short of a two-way force since entering the WHL at the age of 16 back in 2018-19. His rookie campaign featured three goals and 17 points in 65 regular season contests, plus another three helpers in 23 post-season games as the Raiders marched all the way to the Ed Chynoweth Cup, emerging victorious with a dramatic Game 7 win.
In 2019-20, Guhle came into his own and showed flashes of his offensive upside, registering 40 points (11G-29A) in 64 contests, along with a plus-23 rating, before the WHL season came to a premature end due to COVID-19.
He represented the WHL and the Raiders at the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont.
In 2019, Guhle was a member of Canada’s silver-medal squad at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he served as an alternate captain. Back in 2018, he represented his nation as the captain for Canada Red at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, tallying three assists in six games.
The second of two brothers to have come through the WHL, Guhle’s brother Brendan played parts of four seasons with the Raiders (2013-14 to 2016-17) before finishing his WHL career with the Prince George Cougars (2016-17). Brendan was originally selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round (51st overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft. He split the 2019-20 season between the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and AHL’s San Diego Gulls.
Guhle was one of seven WHL players, including two Raiders, selected in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft. In total, 28 WHL players hear their names called over the course of seven rounds from October 6 to 7.
Guhle is the third 2020 NHL Draft selection from the WHL to sign an NHL entry-level contract, following in the wake of his Raiders teammate Ozzy Wiesblatt (San Jose Sharks, 31st overall) and Edmonton Oil Kings forward Jake Neighbours (St. Louis Blues, 26th overall).
With the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season scheduled to begin Friday, January 8, 2021, Guhle will once again be looked at to lead the Raiders from the blueline, should he not crack the Canadiens roster for the NHL campaign.