Sat Sep 07 02:55am EDT
Brendan Guhle is getting the best of both worlds in his rookie season with the Prince Albert Raiders. He’s not only joining the East Division favourites and a possible contender, but he’s also walking into a situation where there’s opportunity to play a significant role on their blueline because of offseason departures.
“It’s a great situation to be in,” says Guhle, who was selected third overall in the 2012 WHL bantam draft. “They’re a good team and I’m excited to be on a team that has potential to make a run in the playoffs. And I definitely want to be on a team where I can chip in and with some guys leaving I hope to do that.”
Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Harrison Ruopp stands out as the Raiders' biggest offseason loss on the back end. Guhle knows he can’t replace Ruopp’s 20-plus minutes a night right off the bat, but he hopes to develop into a similar player as him down the road.
“I want to be a player that the team relies on a lot like him,” says the Grand Prairie, Alta., native. “He played a big role and was a great player in this league. That’s like someone I want to be – someone who is on the ice in the final minutes of the game.”
The 6-foot-1, 167-pound Guhle knows the jump from major midget to the WHL is a steep one, but he believes the transition he made last year from bantam to midget helped prepare him for it.
“It (the WHL) is a great league that you have to work hard to play in,” says Guhle, who scored three goals and 11 points in 32 games with the Sherwood Park Kings AAA midget team last year. “It won’t be easy and it will take time to get used to it. But the change from bantam with 14 and 15 year olds to 16 to 18 year olds gave me a bit of an idea. I was playing against bigger players and some that were two years older than me.”
Throughout the growing pains of his 16-year-old rookie season, Guhle plans to lean on Winnipeg Jets first rounder and fellow Alberta native Josh Morrissey for advice. He also wouldn’t mind getting the opportunity to play alongside him.
“It’s great to have a guy like him on the team,” says Guhle. “I’ve already been talking to him and have become friends with him. He’s given me some good advice and he’s someone I’ll be asking questions this year. Maybe I’ll even get to play with him a bit. It would be a great opportunity and I think we would work well together.”
1. How would you describe yourself as a player?
“I am a two-way defenceman. I can chip in offensively and run a power play. I think I’m dependable in my own end and can quickly move the puck out of my own end.”
2. Do you model your game after a player in the NHL?
“I like how (St. Louis Blues defenceman) Alex Pietrangelo plays. He has great abilities like his skating and smarts. And he’s a guy that can make an impact at both ends."
3. Who is your favourite NHL team?
“Since I grew up in the area, I’ve always cheered for the Edmonton Oilers.”
4. If you weren’t playing hockey, what sport would your pursue?
“I think I’d play football. I didn’t really play it much (when I was a kid), but when I was at a U17 camp we went to McMahon Stadium in Calgary for a game and the atmosphere was great. The building was packed and it was a really cool feeling. So I think being a professional football player would be second behind hockey for me.”
5. What’s your favourite movie and television show?
“For a movie, I really like Miracle. It’s a great hockey movie that I like to watch. For a TV show, I think I have to go with Prison Break. It’s one of my favourites because I like the story and it’s a thriller.”
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen