20 - Michael Bunting - Left Wing
Where Did He Come From?: Drafted in the 4th round at number 117th overall by the Arizona Coyotes.
Rank in last year’s 21 under 21? #15
Has He Played in the NHL?: Not yet
Michael Bunting is probably one of the lowest ranked player on this list who has a good chance of seeing NHL ice this season. Last offseason in our 21 under 21 series, we saw Michael Bunting as a player who could potentially earn a call-up from the AHL, and while he didn’t play last season that is still a very realistic possibility for the young winger.
Bunting got his start playing for the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds after being drafted by a young, analytics driven General Manager (sound familiar?) named Kyle Dubas. Early reports have him as a Brad Marchand type player, a high energy player who can score and get under the other team’s skin. In 2016 then coach David Tippett in speaking with Today’s Slapshot, said that an NHL player in that mold is a possibility for young winger.
Last season Bunting played his second full season with the AHL. Last season Bunting was 7th overall in goals for the Tucson Roadrunners, and tied for 7th on the team in points. While not the most impressive numbers on the team, Bunting’s stats are impressive enough to keep him in competition for a call up.
What does the future hold for Bunting?:
At this point it is still too early to call what the future holds for Michael Bunting. His past two seasons suggests a bit of a scoring touch in the AHL but not enough to suggest he has a future as a consistent goal scorer in the NHL yet. Bunting’s first two years look very similar point wise (11-14-25 his first year, 13-15-28 his second) and while consistency is nice, it would be good to see him take a leap next season.
Bunting definitely has talent though, and as a pesky player there is a very good chance he will earn a roster spot on a NHL team soon, very likely in a fourth line role who can move up on a short term basis.