Coyotes recall forward Dylan Guenther with Jason Zucker suspended

Jan 6, 2024, 3:47 PM

Dylan Guenther...

Dylan Guenther #11 of the Arizona Coyotes warms up before the NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Mullett Arena on January 12, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes recalled 2021 first-round pick Dylan Guenther from the AHL Tucson Roadrunners on an emergency basis Saturday with Jason Zucker serving a suspension.

Guenther, the No. 9 overall pick, played 33 games for the Coyotes last season but has spent the start of 2023-24 in the AHL. In 28 games with the Roadrunners, he leads the team with 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists).

Head coach Andre Tourigny told media members on Saturday the reports he’s received from Tucson have been positive, but he said the plan is for Guenther to contribute in the short term with Zucker unavailable. Zucker was suspended three games for boarding Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins on Tuesday and has already missed a game.

“As a coaching staff, we really like (Guenther),” Tourigny said. “We understand the decision has been made for his own good, for his development and right now he’s doing really good out there … The situation with (Zucker) creates a situation where we need what he can bring to our team in the short term. So is here on the on the short term while (Zucker) is not here. He is part of the future for us in the long term, there’s no doubt about it. But short term, we’ll have those two games and then we will make the best decision for (Guenther) from there.”

Guenther said he learned he would be called up on Thursday as he was getting ready for bed, and he was excited about the opportunity.

Tourigny said the 20-year-old is aware of the situation, but Guenther said he is only focused on getting ready for Sunday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets at Mullett Arena. The Coyotes host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

“Just take the momentum I’ve created down there and bring it up here,” Guenther told reporters is his approach. “I’m not going to come up here and try to change anything because I’m playing in the NHL. I think my play down there is what’s gotten me to this point now and just come up here and play with confidence and try to make an impact.”

He said knowing the system and his teammates makes this call-up more comfortable than his first NHL experience last season.

The Edmonton native explained playing with more pace was a message given to him when he was sent down, and he feels faster now.

“I just want him to play with pace, it’s not like this is the first time I’ve seen him and I will have a different expectation. I know what he can do,” Tourigny said. “He’s a really smart player. I want him to be responsible on both sides of the puck and get on the forecheck … that’s all stuff I know he will do. Dylan does not have a kind of game where his game is going up and down and you don’t know where to find him on the ice.”

Guenther produced 15 points in his 33 games last season with Arizona before he joined WHL Seattle down the stretch of the season.

Over the summer, he scored in overtime to give Canada the gold medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Guenther is the second-youngest player on the Coyotes’ roster behind 2022 first-round pick Logan Cooley.

The Coyotes on Saturday also recalled forward Justin Kirkland from Tucson, and the Chicago Blackhawks claimed Zach Sanford off waivers from Arizona.

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