Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Dylan Guenther Scouting Report.
The 2020-21 hockey season has been strange for everyone, but it has been well established that those playing junior hockey in Canada have had it worse than those in other countries. For top WHL prospect Dylan Guenther, it has meant just 12 games playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings. Guenther made the most of those 12 games though, putting up 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points. He also played four games for the Sherwood Park Crusaders in the AJHL, scoring three goals and two assists for five points. Guenther will now join Team Canada for the upcoming IIHF Under-18 World Championships.
Guenther was the first overall pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. Last season he put up 26 goals and 33 assists for 59 points in 58 games with the Oil Kings. Guenther won the Jim Piggot Trophy as the WHL Rookie of the Year. He also played for Team Canada White at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Guenther had three goals in the six-game tournament. In 2018-19, Guenther played eight games for the Oil Kings, putting up three goals and four points.
Dylan Guenther Scouting Report
Right Wing — shoots Right
Born April 10th, 2003 — Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Height 6’1″ — Weight 170 lbs [185 cm / 77 kg]
Guenther is a very good skater. He has very good acceleration, reaching his top speed in just a few strides. That speed is dangerous through the neutral zone and also allows Guenther to create odd-man rushes. He has very good agility and edgework. Guenther can make very quick cuts to get by defenders. Once he gets a step, he accelerates rapidly and cuts to the net. Guenther can take defenders wide and get to the front of the net. He can stand to get stronger though. His frame is slight at this point. Added core strength will help him to fight through checks at the next level. It will also help him win battles on the boards and in front of the net.
Guenther is a threat both with and without the puck. He has good hands and can handle the puck and make plays while moving at top speed. He has very good vision and the passing skills to be a playmaker off the rush, or in the offensive zone. Quick movements of his feet and hands allow him to get past defenders off the rush as well as to create passing and shooting lanes in the offensive zone. His ability to control the play also allows his teammates the time to get open. Once they do, he can find them with a pass through a tight area in order to set up a scoring chance.
He is a smart player who also finds open areas without the puck, allowing himself to be set up by teammates for a scoring chance. He is very good at give-and-go type plays. Guenther can also be a sniper. His wrist shot and snap shot are both powerful and accurate. He gets them off quickly and he can use his quick hands to change his shooting angle, fooling goaltenders. He also has a very good one-timer. Guenther can stand to get stronger along the boards though. This may come in time as he continues to bulk up.
Guenther is also strong in the defensive end. He applies good backpressure in supporting the defence against the rush. He is also willing to come down low and support the defence against the cycle game when necessary. However, as a winger, he is more often playing high in the zone. He does a good job of covering the point as well as keeping himself open for a breakout pass when his teammates turn the puck over. Guenther shows a willingness to get in passing and shooting lanes. If there is a critique, it’s that he can sometimes fly the zone a little early looking for a long breakaway pass. However, this might be something that the Oil Kings coaches are asking him to do since he is so dangerous if he does get a breakaway.
Projection and Comparison
Guenther could become a top-line NHL winger. Given the lack of games this year, he may need another year in junior before he is NHL-ready. He could also use that time to get stronger before he is ready to play the pro game. That said, the types of things he needs to work on, adding muscle and some defensive awareness are things that can be taught, while his natural offensive skill is something that cannot. Guenther’s game is reminiscent of Tyler Seguin, however, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Dylan Guenther that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Dylan Guenther Scouting Report Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images
KELOWNA, BC – NOVEMBER 26: Dylan Guenther #11 of the Edmonton Oil Kings celebrates a shoot out goal against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on November 26, 2019 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)