Jack Eichel took center stage in Buffalo, when he was selected, to nobody’s surprise, second overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. However, in the shadow of the Eichel madness that took over the city of Buffalo, the Sabres selected Brendan Guhle in the second round, and gained a tremendous athlete in doing so.
Guhle, who was selected 51st overall, is a 6′-2″ 184-pound defenseman from the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. He’s widely admired for his “poster-boy” athlete’s body, which helped him stand out at the NHL combine three weeks ago. At the combine, Guhle tied fellow Sabres draft pick Jack Eichel with seven top-ten finishes in the fitness testing.
Brendan Guhle was a Combine superstar. He also had the longest standing long jump virtually jumping off the end of the mat.
— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) June 27, 2015
Guhle’s excellence carries over onto the ice as well. He’s known as a “tank” defenseman, who can take hits, and give them out equally well.
“Calm, collected, and poised with the puck; great body and stick positioning without the puck. Reliable at both ends of the ice and can be trusted with a hefty amount of ice time. All-in-all, a defenseman who strives to be difficult to play against, consistently, with and without the puck.” (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)
On top of being a strong-bodied defenseman, Guhle has proven that he possesses an offensive threat as well. In 72 games with the Raiders, Guhle tallied five goals and seven assists from the point. This earned him the second rank among Raiders’ defensemen for assists, and third for points. He was also selected to play in the CHL Top Prospects game.
In his media scrum after being drafted, Guhle described himself:
“I’m a two-way defenseman, and a good skater… Basically kind of a do-it-all defenseman… Plays against the other team’s top lines, and creates offense.”
After being drafted, Guhle seemed to be quite happy with his new home. He referenced not only the organization, but also the city, the new rink, and even Buffalo’s weather as reasons that he’s been drawn there.
“I had a great time at the combine,” he said in a 1-on-1 interview for NHL.com. “It’s been a great city for me so far. I’m really excited to be coming to Buffalo.”
In his media scrum, Guhle spoke even more about his excitement to come to Buffalo.
“I’m really excited. I love this city, actually. It was a great experience… It’s a great city it seems like so I’m really excited to go.”
When asked what he wanted to improve regarding his game, he fell back on his “tanky” style of play, stating that he definitely wants to become bigger and a lot stronger.
All in all, Buffalo made a pretty solid second round pick. It’ll be interesting to see how his left-handed shot can fill in any holes in the Sabres defensive system.
Are you happy with the Sabres’ second round pick, or would you have gone a different direction?
Cam is a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Maryland. He’s the Boston Bruins Beat Writer at The Hockey Writers, and is an avid college hockey fan. Find him on Twitter @CamHasbrouck!