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Alex Vlasic has just signed a contract that doesn’t help Kaiden Guhle
Credit: Getty Images

Defensively, the Habs won’t have much salary negotiation to do with players for the 2024-2025 season.

Mike Matheson, David Savard, Jordan Harris, Lane Hutson, Kaiden Guhle, Johnathan Kovacevic, David Reinbacher, Logan Mailloux, Jayden Struble and William Trudeau are already under contract.

Adam Engstrom, if he signs, will have an entry-level contract. Mattias Norlinder will surely leave. Justin Barron, who finished the season poorly, will have no bargaining power. And Arber Xhekaj, the “big deal” of the lot, is ineligible for arbitration and has just undergone season-ending surgery on his “other shoulder”.

The Sheriff won’t be touching the moon, then.

What this means is that, when it comes to defensemen, Kent Hughes’ challenges will be to know which one(s) to trade… and to decide if any of them deserve a contract extension a year early.

And in this regard, the logical candidate is Kaiden Guhle. The Habs are already thinking about it, in fact.

It’s interesting to note, at this point, that a comparable has been added when it comes to talking about a potential multi-season contract in his case: Alex Vlasic of the Blackhawks.

According to The Athletic, Vlasic has signed a six-year contract valued at $4.6 million per year.

Obviously, seeing this, Kaiden Guhle can’t be thinking that Vlasic has raised the bar… even though he’s better than the Hawks defenseman, in my opinion. After all, the Habs defenseman can do everything (over 200 feet) that Vlasic can, but they’re still comparable, in the end.

And Guhle can do it from his bad side, on the right, if he wants.

Offensively, Guhle can score a little more, but ultimately, the two 22-year-old defensemen aren’t offensive machines.

Guhle (who is often more injured than Vlasic in recent years) has scored six goals and 22 points this season in 70 games. Vlasic, in 76 games, has just two goals, but 16 points.

On a six-year contract, Guhle would get more than Vlasic, I’m convinced. However, his American counterpart hasn’t exactly helped raise the bar, in my opinion. Vlasic just gave a comparable that Kent Hughes will use with Guhle’s agent.

In a flurry

– The file is the talk of the town.

– Still.

– Maple Leafs wanted to draft Jeremy Swayman.[BPM Sports]

– They know each other.

– He’s getting close to Cole Caufield.

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