The Habs didn’t waste much time getting a deal done with their top pick in this month’s draft, announcing the signing of Kaiden Guhle to a three-year, entry-level contract. The deal is worth $925,000 in base salary and signing bonuses and $80,000 in AHL pay, both the maximums. He is also eligible for $420,000 in Schedule A performance bonuses each year.
Montreal selected the 18-year-old with the 16th pick in the draft following an impressive second full season with Prince Albert of the WHL. While his game has always had a strong level of physicality and good attention to detail at the defensive end, Guhle took a big step forward offensively in 2019-20, posting 11 goals and 29 assists in 64 games which helped him shoot up the draft rankings as a result. While there are questions about how effective he’ll be at that end in the NHL, he’s a safe bet to be an important part of Montreal’s back future down the road, even if it’s in more of a shutdown role.
Even though the contract officially begins next season, as Guhle is still junior-aged, he’s eligible to have his deal slide a year if he doesn’t play in 10 or more NHL games in 2020-21. Considering Montreal’s situation on the left side of the back end, it’s pretty safe to say he won’t see that much NHL action so the deal will all but certainly slide and will still have three years remaining after next season.
It’ll be a while before Guhle sees any game action. The WHL is targeting a January 8th start to their season although he could be playing a little earlier than that if he’s able to lock down a spot on Canada’s entry into the World Juniors.