Coyotes 1st-round draft pick Dylan Guenther gaining comfort with team before camp

Sep 2, 2021, 11:40 AM
Dylan Guenther #11 of the Edmonton Oil Kings in action against the Calgary Hitmen during a WHL game...
Dylan Guenther #11 of the Edmonton Oil Kings in action against the Calgary Hitmen during a WHL game at Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on March 27, 2021 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
(Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Arizona Coyotes first-round draft pick Dylan Guenther said Wednesday that his first jersey as a young kid was a Coyotes jersey. That only added to the feelings he had of putting on the jersey as a member of the organization.

“It’s surreal,” Guenther said in his first press conference after signing a three-year, entry-level contract with the Coyotes. “This is really a dream come true for me and something that I will never forget.”

The Coyotes selected the forward ninth overall selection in July’s NHL Draft. Guenther is the organization’s highest draft pick since 2018 and the highest draft pick for Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong since he joined the organization in September 2020.

Armstrong said Guenther will benefit from meeting players and staff members a week before the team’s prospect development camp begins on Sept. 9.

“It’s a huge advantage for him to come in and get comfortable with the surroundings,” Armstrong said. “It’s a great opportunity for him to come in early and get a new comfort level.”

Guenther is getting the chance to get comfortable with his new organization with one of Arizona’s all-time greats, Shane Doan. Doan, who played 19 seasons with the Coyotes, currently serves as the team’s chief hockey development officer. Doan was also one of the first people to congratulate him after being drafted.

Guenther said that staying with Doan has been a great learning experience.

“Living with Shane is another huge advantage in that he’s been in my shoes before,” Guenther said. “He knows what I’m going through. We’ve talked and shared our experiences in the few days we’ve had together.”

When Guenther joined Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday, he said that his shooting and hockey IQ are the strongest parts of his game. He’s also looking to work on his game when he does not have control of the puck.

“I think that’s a huge part of the game and something that will really help take you to the next level,” Guenther said. “Everyone does a good job of making plays and creating offense when you have the puck, but it’s what they can do away from the puck to get it back and then try to produce from there. That’s the part of my game that has gotten a lot better these last few seasons as a junior and something that I’m going to continue to work on and get better at.”

It will take a lot of work over plenty of time before Guenther plays regularly in the NHL. That is something that Armstrong stressed on Wednesday.

“There’s this big rush to get to the NHL, but sometimes the players get there at the wrong time,” Armstrong said. “There is a process that has to be done properly. For us, we want to make sure players get there at the right time.”

Guenther will have plenty of chances to showcase his abilities at Gila River Arena in September. The Black and White Scrimmage, which concludes the team’s prospect development camp on Sept. 13, will be open to the public.

Arizona is also hosting the Rookie Faceoff tournament on Sept. 17-20. The Coyotes will play three games in the tournament at Gila River Arena.

Guenther said on Burns & Gambo that being with the team early can help him build the chemistry needed for him to make a good impression.

“I think that I’m just going have to be able to make some friendships,” Guenther said. “Getting down here a little bit earlier and trying to meet everyone will really help me out in those games.”

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