Our annual Top 25 Under 25 series serves to find the best young players in the Buffalo Sabres organization, be it NHL, AHL, European or junior leagues. We voted on everyone from Asplund to Willman, and the best 25 players get profiled throughout the month of September. Today's subject: Brendan Guhle.
Brendan Guhle, LHD
Age: 19 Height: 6’2’’ Weight: 186 lbs.
There was a point in time where the Sabres organizational philosophy was to try and be "difficult to play against". That can take many different forms, from loading up on tough guys to having amazing puck possession, but Brendan Guhle is everything you’d like a defenseman who’s tough to play against to be.
The 19-year old workout warrior is "Built like a tank," according to Elite Prospects, and that translates into his gritty, physical presence on the ice. But Guhle isn’t just a defensive defenseman - he’s an athletic player with good skating skills and good speed with the puck. In his own end, he has sound positioning and plays the body well thanks to his stout frame. He also doubled his goal total with Prince Albert last season from 5 to 10 despite playing in 9 fewer games due to injury.
Where Guhle needs to improve, like many young blueliners, is in his preparation and consistency. Earlier this summer, Tim Murray had this to say about Guhle’s progress:
"I don't know if I saw a marked improvement [at development camp] because last year he was quite good and obviously he played some games here. So I think you see more consistency, so that is an improvement, but he's a talented guy.
He's an athletic, talented guy that can skate and has some skills. Expectations are high so, you know, it's hard to say I saw a huge improvement, but he's getting better in his game that he prepares properly, things you might not see on the ice. So I expect that he's going to come in here and make a push like he did last year, for sure."
After starting the season on the Sabres roster (and immediately suffering an injury) Guhle will look to repeat that impressive rookie feat, minus the injury and subsequent demotion back to juniors. Should he not make the final cut, the 19-year old will have to head back to Prince Albert in the WHL.