For a while now, Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans fans have known that defender Brendan Guhle is fast. The rest of the world got to see that this past Sunday, when Guhle took part in the AHL All-Star Skills Competition, and Monday night when Guhle was part of the North Division team at the All-Star Classic.
Guhle was added to the roster for the All-Star Classic to replace injured Amerks defender Zach Redmond, but Guhle is certainly deserving of the accolade.
Over the years, many have noted Guhle’s speed as an impressive part of his game.
Diving into some Brendan Guhle highlights. Speed. Quickness. Smooth— Max Marko (@maxwellmarko) December 2, 2016
It’s little surprise, then, that Guhle had no problem showcasing that speed as part of the Fastest Skater competition. He recorded a 13.648, which at the time was the fourth-best all-time record for fastest skater in AHL All-Star history. The two players who skated after Guhle both beat him, which means his time is now sixth-best all-time in AHL All-Star history - still impressive.
Guhle’s time is impressive on its own, but also impressive when compared to others’ results. For instance, Guhle’s time is not far off from the time Jack Eichel recorded in that event at the NHL All-Star Skills challenge (13.582) and beats those of Clayton Keller, Elias Pettersson, Matthew Barzal and Cam Atkinson.
Wouldn’t it be fun to see Guhle and Eichel face off in a fastest skater competition?
Guhle’s speed - which is even more impressive when you remember he’s a defender - is undoubtedly an impressive part of his game, and it was fun to see him showcase that. It’s something for Buffalo Sabres fans to look forward to when he does eventually secure a spot in the NHL lineup, which likely isn’t too far away.
Guhle also participated in the Hardest Shot competition, with his highest score being 99.4 mph. He finished third, with the winner (Greg Carey) recording a 100.4 mph shot. The 6-3, 21-year-old Guhle really utilized his size to put a lot of heat into his shots, and it showed.
Guhle also showcased his speed and accuracy when was the only player in his heat to score during the Breakaway Relay.
The following night, Guhle suited up as part of the North Division team at the AHL All-Star Game. The game was a tournament-style competition, with the North Division facing each of the other divisions in short, 10-minute games. Guhle had a few good chances as well as a few solid passes.
#AHLAllStar @AmerksHockey defender @guhles_ with a nice pass to give his teammate a chance. Then moments later, Guhle with his own chance close in. #Amerks #Sabres #AHL #NHL pic.twitter.com/7rvRlkpvXI— Melissa Burgess (@_MelissaBurgess) January 29, 2019
In the final round-robin game, Guhle also had a nice back-and-forth passing sequence with Senators prospect Drake Batherson. The Atlantic Division won the All-Star Classic in a shootout by a final score of 1-0. Guhle didn’t register any points throughout the tournament and never got a chance to try in the shootout, but it would’ve been neat to see what tricks he had up his sleeve.
Nonetheless, Guhle’s performance at the AHL All-Star Classic weekend reaffirmed what many Sabres fans already knew about him: the kid is incredibly talented and has a lot of speed - and he’s still growing.
For now, he’ll return to the AHL’s Rochester Americans - where he’s put up 20 points, including 15 assists, in 39 games - and looks to have a career-best season, one which could (fingers-crossed) be his last before he makes it full-time up with the Buffalo Sabres.
Guhle and the Amerks will return to action this weekend. They’ll visit the Binghamton Devils for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop on Friday before visiting the Hartford Wolf Park for a 7 p.m. game Saturday. They’ll return back to Rochester on February 6 against the Syracuse Crunch. The Amerks have 15 home games remaining in their regular season schedule, just in case you’re hoping to make the trek to Rochester to see Guhle & co. anytime soon.