Grading Kaiden Guhle's season

Guhle spent the 2023-24 season on the top defence pair alongside Mike Matheson. It was a year of learning and growth for the 22-year-old.
Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers
Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers / Lawrence Scott/GettyImages

With the Stanley Cup final nearly set, the Canadiens offseason is in full swing and focus is on the 2024 NHL Draft.

Here at A Winning Habit, though, we push content all year round keeping things interesting and keeping the readership engaged. So, with that, I decided to work through a series of player grades, with the goaltenders done, we move on to the defensemen. The first name that I drew from the hat is Kaiden Guhle, perhaps one of the Canadiens most promising defenders.

Guhle just finished up at the World Championships and while it wasn't the result that he had hoped for, it was a great experience for his development. Adding to the season he had this year alongside Mike Matheson on the number defence pairing, Guhle has had a big year. For a 22-year-old defender, especially one playing for an Original Six franchise, like the Montreal Canadiens to carry himself the way that he did is mighty impressive.

There is no telling what Guhle will develop into, as he is still a few years away from reaching his prime. But there is reason to believe that he will continue improving and his importance to the Habs defence isn't going to change any time soon. While he may never produce points at the rate that Lane Hutson or Logan Mailloux will, he will be an important player for many different reasons.

It's far from easy to play against the opposition's best every night, not to mention as a 22-year-old. But Guhle did his best to prove that he belonged there and it seemed to light a fire under him, to keep growing and finding new ways to defend and outsmart his opponents. With some added muscle on his frame, he won't be very fun to deal with around the net, in foot races or along the boards.

I think that other than Mike Matheson, there isn't another defenseman on the Canadiens who deserves a grade higher than Guhle does. For that reason I would grade Guhle's season as a B+. He has room to grow and more to learn, but he handled his promotion with such maturity and poise.