The Arizona Coyotes selected forward Dylan Guenther with the ninth overall selection in the 2021 NHL draft. Already, he’s showing that was a good decision by the team. Whether he can continue his excellent play is yet to be determined. He certainly has a wicked shot. He scored two goals in the Rookie Faceoff Tournament game against the Vegas Golden Knights prospects Friday night. The first goal was very impressive and displays his sharpshooting capabilities. From the left side, he had a very slim opening near the top shelf and nailed it. The shot was so powerful it shattered the goalie’s water bottle sitting atop the net. @PHNX_SPORTS Craig Morgan had this comment:
Gunner makes it 2-1 on the PP.
Dylan Guenther rips a wrist shot top shelf from the left circle. Heck of a shot.
— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) September 18, 2021
Morgan may have coined Guenther’s nickname, but “Gunner” seems perfectly appropriate. His second goal also was a well placed shot that went again from the left side helped by a good screen from teammate Ben McCartney. But, wait… isn’t he a right wing who shoots right-handed? Yes he is. While he can’t yet be compared to Alex Ovechkin merely because he chooses to set up near the left faceoff circle, he is very effective from that area. He may be just what the Coyotes have been missing for years… a lethal scorer.
Dylan Guenther Has Solid Showing in Rookie Tournament
While one game does not make a season… especially for a prospect, the future forward line of the Coyotes seems to be looking formidable. Now if general manager Bill Armstrong can get him some adequate linemates or draft a good centre to get him the puck, they will be set. The performance he put in for this first rookie tournament was impressive to say the least. He was even playing on the penalty kill and did an good job in that role. If he can widen his skills like that he will be an excellent asset for the team. He skates well and of course has an eye for the net. After seeing some of his moves the Vegas players started to double team him at times to control his offensive prowess.
Take a look at this shot and see if it reminds you of a player near the NHL level of talent.
Dylan Guenther: even better than advertised. pic.twitter.com/rd7S7jPmgj
— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) September 18, 2021
Guenther Could Jump Right to the NHL
Expecting too much too soon from rookies has always been a downfall for the Coyotes. They tried to rush Dylan Strome and we all know that turned out. Armstrong seems to be very aware that rushing Guenther’s development would be foolish. For one, the team is in a huge rebuild, and throwing a rookie into the shark infested waters of playing in the NHL may be a mistake. Bring him along slowly, unless of course he continues to shatter water bottles on top of the net with regularity. Having him play for Canada in the World Juniors in December will be an excellent experience for him as well as give him more development towards a future NHL career.
He only played 12 games last season in the WHL for the Edmonton Oil Kings and needs more ice time to refine his game. Let’s just say his shot doesn’t need much refinement. With his offensive skills he will become a integral part of the Coyotes power play when he does get called up. A stint in the AHL is certainly a step in the right direction to get him more accustomed to the level of play he will experience in the future.
There’s just one thing. The Coyotes need to stock up on water bottles for the opposing team as Guenther knows how to destroy one with his cannon of a shot. Lots of players have hard shots, but acquiring the attribute of being accurate takes some time. Dylan “Gunner” Guenther seems to have aced that skill very early in his hockey career.