The Admirals’ Captain Nate Guenin knows a thing or two about the American Hockey League having over 375 AHL games to his credit thus far. The 29-year-old defenseman was drafted by the New York Rangers 127th overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to being drafted, he played two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers who are in the USHL a Tier 1 Junior League in the United States. Playing in this league protects college bound players from losing their eligibility before entering college. Guenin spent the 2000-2001 and the 2001-2002 seasons with the Gamblers playing in 110 games. He departed Green Bay for Ohio State with just 28 points.
Guenin completed a four-year college stint with Ohio State from 2002 until 2006. In his last two years with the Buckeyes, he was called upon to wear a letter on his jersey. Nate was already considered a leader at a young age wearing the “A” his junior year and captaining the Buckeyes the following year. During his time with Ohio State, he played in 151 games and tallied 6 goals for a total of 53 points. While excelling on the ice, he was named to the CCHA Second Team All-Stars for the 2004-2005 season. Guenin also excelled in the classroom and was named to the 2003-2004 CCHA All-Academic team; as well as; the 2003-2004 Academic All-Big Squad. The Aliquippa, Pennsylvania native sat atop his team with the most penalty minutes each year of his 4-year tour with the Buckeyes.
Although the Rangers drafted Nate, he never signed a contract with them which made him available to any team in the NHL that wanted him. The Philadelphia Flyers took a chance on Guenin and signed him to a two-year NHL Entry Level contract in the summer of 2006. The next season Guenin embarked on a 3-year journey with the Flyers organization. Guenin spent most of his 3 years in the Flyers organization playing with the Philadelphia Phantoms, the AHL affiliate to the Flyers, until the Phantoms ceased operations after the 2008-2009 season. While spending his time in the Broad Street Bullies organization, he played a total of 12 games while only managing two assists that came during his rookie year. Guenin played in a total of 207 games producing 43 points.
Guenin continued his journey in the AHL when he signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Pittsburg Penguins for the 2009-2010 season. While with Wilkes-Barre, he played in 41 games where he put up 5 points. He also played two games with Pittsburg where he went pointless and saw a -2 plus/minus rating. His time with the Pittsburg organization came to a halt when he was swapped to St. Louis in exchange for Steve Wagner on February 11, 2010. Guenin finished out the rest of the season with St. Louis’ AHL club, the Peoria Rivermen, where he saw action in 27 games and totaled a pro career high 13 points.
The Ohio State alumnus signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets prior to the 2010-2011 season. Nate would be named the assistant captain of the Springfield Falcons, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets. During his time with the Falcons, Guenin was recalled to the Blue Jackets where he saw action in 3 games. A January, 2011 trade sent Guenin to the Anaheim Ducks and former Admiral Trevor Smith to Columbus. The 209-pound defenseman finished out the 2010-2011 season with the Crunch appearing in 43 games while putting up 12 points. Nate re-upped with the Anaheim Ducks for the 2011-2012 season. Guenin was probably giddy that he did because his leadership role grew when he was named Captain of the Crunch for the 2011-2012 campaign. The Captain would dress in 27 games with the Crunch while only racking in 5 points. The Syracuse Captain also played in 15 games with Anaheim. The Pennsylvania native scored his 1st NHL goal against Ryan Miller of Buffalo in the season opener in Helsinki, Finland. Along with scoring in the season opener, he played in 14 more games scoring one more goal and assisting on 2 others for a total of 4 points.
With the NHL work stoppage and the affiliation change, Guenin landed in Norfolk, VA. He signed an AHL contract during the off-season that kept him in the Ducks organization. He started where he left off in Syracuse by being named Captain of the 2012-2013 Norfolk Admirals. Rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen can learn a thing or two from their captain who plays defense and is paired with Lindholm on the blue line. When asked if he is ever called upon to give advice to young defenseman, Guenin responded, “I’m paired up with Hampus. He is a young kid, but you can see glimpses of brilliance with his play. I just try to help him. If there is something I see that I feel would be beneficial to his game I’ll relay it to him, but I’m not going to be in his ear every shift.”
The 1982 born defenseman commented on the captaincy saying, “I enjoy it. I’m always put into a leadership role and we have a pretty good team to lead. We have a lot of good guys in there and kind of have leadership by committee. It’s a fun group to play with and I try to go out and lead by example.” Nate, who is leading by example and is a +7 on the season thus far, said he takes pride in his defensive zone and he hopes that number keeps climbing. Guenin is one skipper that surely leads by example and if fans pay attention, they will see it over the course of the season.
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