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Player Review: Brendan Guhle

The talented young defenseman had a breakthrough season with Anaheim

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The end of the 2019-20 Ducks season was made official when the NHL announced its Return to Play Plan on May 26. Anaheim concluded the season with a 29-33-9 record and 67 points, playing 71 games until the regular season was paused March 12 and eventually deemed completed May 26 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next few months, we'll be featuring a different Ducks player in numerical order in our annual player review series highlighting key stats and moments from the past season. We begin with defenseman Brendan Guhle.

Though the 2019-20 NHL regular season will ultimately go down in the history books as one unlike any other, the abbreviated campaign was filled with 'firsts' for the young defenseman.

Still just 22 years of age, Guhle took a step forward in his development this past season. Though he'd be the first to tell you he still has much to learn at the NHL level, Guhle appeared in 30 games with the Ducks this season - a benchmark that eclipsed his previous career high of 18 set during 2017-18 with Buffalo. The Edmonton, Alberta native also set personal bests in goals (four - more on that next), points (8) and shots on goals (39) this season with the Ducks.

A long time coming but certainly worth the wait, Guhle scored his first career NHL goal on Nov. 27, 2019 at Arizona.

Video: ANA@ARI: Guhle nets point shot off a defender

The goal came in his 44th career NHL game and his 21st with the Ducks. (Guhle was acquired from Buffalo along with a 2019 first-round pick in exchange for Brandon Montour on Feb. 24, 2019.) Guhle ended up scoring three more times before the season was over, including two goals over a four-game span in late February/early March.

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The first of those two goals also served as his first-ever game winner, a snap shot from the top of the circles that caromed off Pittsburgh defenseman Zach Trotman late in the second period on Feb. 28. The Ducks went on to win the game, 3-2.

Video: PIT@ANA: Guhle rips shot in off defender

Guhle also spent time with the San Diego Gulls (AHL), posting 14 points (4g/10a) with 18 penalty minutes and a +9 rating in 27 games. He ranked tied for second among Gulls defensemen in goals and third in plus-minus.

Off the ice, Guhle took part in the Ducks' annual Holiday Shopping Spree at Target in Irvine on Dec. 4. Donning a classic Mighty Ducks-themed Christmas sweater, Guhle joined Erik Gudbranson, Carter Rowney, former teammate Devin Shore, Director of High Performance Dr. Jeremy Bettle, head coach Dallas Eakins and their wives or significant others for an unforgettable shopping experience for 15 students and their families.

Guhle was paired with 10-year-old Marco Solis, a fifth-grader from the Santa Ana-based nonprofit, The Wooden Floor. "It's good to see that we're doing this type of thing," Guhle said. "It's very important to give back to the community. Hopefully it's inspiring for [Marco]. Anything is possible for him. I think he's going to be a successful kid."

Video: Ducks Weekly: Holiday Shopping Spree

Guhle would've become a restricted free agent in the offseason, but the Ducks inked him to a two-year contract extension through the 2021-22 NHL season on May 10. Still in his early 20s with plenty of room to grow, Guhle fits right in with the youth movement coming up through the system. Like his peers on the Ducks roster, Guhle will be looked upon for even more development next season and beyond.

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