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Bottom Six Minutes: Kaiden Guhle is ready for the show

It is becoming increasingly likely that Kaiden Guhle starts this season on the Canadiens blue line.

Winnipeg Jets v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Winless through two pre-season tilts, the Montreal Canadiens were back at the Bell Centre on Thursday night to host the Winnipeg Jets. Though they remain winless as of this writing, it was the second night in a row where a rookie left the impression that he is ready for professional hockey.

With Filip Mesar I was more inclined to say he’s ready for Laval. With Kaiden Guhle, I’d be surprised at this point if he isn’t on the Habs roster come the regular season.

Guhle was better than advertised against the Jets last night. His offensive game has been somewhat of a project throughout his time in the junior ranks, and he got to show off his progress a little last night. Playing on the power play, he opened the scoring for Montreal in the first period.

But offense was always secondary for him, and while progress on that side of his game is excellent to see, it isn’t his bread and butter. Luckily, he also showed that developing a little more scoring has not been to the detriment of his punishing defensive game.

Patience will be very important for the Canadiens through their rebuild, but there comes a point where you have to ask if a player is ready. Guhle is clearly ready for NHL action, and given that they have some space on their blue line this season, it is hard to see how he doesn’t line up there for the home opener on October 12.

Whether he ends up in Laval for a stint or two during the season will depend on his play thereafter. For now, he has the pole position in the race for a spot with the Habs, and it is tough to see anyone beating him down the stretch.

Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, also available on your podcast platform of choice. We’ll be back with another episode after Saturday’s pre-season game against the Ottawa Senators.