With the 9th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Level Draft, the Arizona Coyotes have selected Dylan Guenther from the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL)
About Dylan Guenther
Under normal circumstances, the 2020-21 season would have been a coming-out party for Dylan Guenther. As one of the top forward prospects heading into the draft, he was ready to showcase his truly elite offensive upside. While he only got to play 12 games with the absolutely stacked Edmonton Oil Kings, he still managed to score a ridiculous 12 goals and 24 points. He also posted four goals and seven points with Team Canada at the 2021 WJC-18.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
There’s no question that Guenther will be a top-flight offensive forward. He has shown a knack for scoring his entire career, and if he can translate that to the NHL, he could be a cornerstone of the future for Arizona’s offense.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“Guenther is near the top of scouts’ rankings for many reasons. With the puck on his stick, he is deadly. His ability to find open teammates in the slot is impressive. He is also really good at finding open space in the slot to present himself as an option for a scoring chance. As witnessed during the first game of his season, he was able to walk into the slot and scored a few minutes into the first period.
“Another strong aspect of his game is his transitional ability. He is great at moving the puck up the ice and is able to garner speed through his crossovers and attack open lanes in the offensive zone without hesitation. Guenther is also responsible in the defensive zone as well. He plays with an active stick and is good at being in position to start the breakout or receive a pass from his defensemen. He is not afraid to battle for the puck in the corners and does not shy away from physicality which is good to see. At times, he may tend to jump too early when the puck has not exited the zone but that is not something that should be worrisome. Guenther is going to be a key piece for the Oil Kings over the next few years and I do believe that if they find success, he will have played a major factor in doing so.”
How This Affects the Coyotes’ Plans
When it comes to a player with raw offensive upside, Guenther was the best option available for the Coyotes. While his 2020-21 scoring totals were a bit inflated due to the Oil Kings having such a talented roster, he should still be able to quickly make an impact at the NHL level.
However, rushing Guenther into the lineup would be a mistake. Given his size and the general lack of playing time in 2021, it might be best for him to spend one more full season to develop his strength before getting a chance to take on a sheltered role in Arizona’s lineup. Being thrown to the wolves would do little for his confidence and development, after all, so patience may be the best option right now.
In three to four years, however, this patience should pay off for the Coyotes. They are in need of top-end scoring talent, and with Guenther, they may have found a top-six winger who can become a franchise player.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.