The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Die By The Blade community. six writers and 718 readers ranked players under the age of 25 as of July 1, 2018 in the Buffalo Sabres organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.
As training camp rapidly approaches, there is a comprehensive list of names that have Sabres fans excited. It would be difficult to put Brendan Guhle outside of the top three in that list.
Guhle finished seventh in our poll of the top 25 young players on the Buffalo roster, which may seem low for such a dynamic player, but let’s not forget how young and deep this Buffalo squad is.
It’s difficult to imagine this team starting the season without Guhle in the lineup. In his 18 games of NHL action last season, he was among the team’s least-shakeable defenders. He rarely chased, rarely got himself out of position, and frequently made himself a part of the offense — something that the team was sorely lacking in the 2017-18 campaign.
He was a key component of a Rochester Americans club that finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and made its first playoff appearance in a few seasons. He’s scored at a half-a-point a game pace throughout his AHL career, and proven that he can hang with the pace and physicality of the professional game.
Because of Guhle’s abilities and the addition of the incomparable Rasmus Dahlin, expectations might be unfairly high for the Buffalo defense this year. There is little question that, on paper, this is best core that the team will have iced in a long time - and it doesn’t look a lot different from last year’s, but Guhle was just that impressive; his brief time with the team raised the bar for the remaining defensemen to the point that fans have reason to expect an NHL-caliber defense for the first time since Lindy Ruff’s tenure.
While it’s true that Guhle has seen a lot of press-box time in his pro tenure, it wouldn’t be fair to label him injury-prone at this point. He’s had bad luck a few times, and been on the wrong end of a couple of less-than-clean hits. To his credit, he’s bounced back strongly each time, and refuses to shy away from a chance to use the body.
Solid defensively, offensively capable, smart, and physical. What more could one ask of a 21-year old on the brink of his rookie season?