The 2022 World Junior Championships kicks off on Sunday (26th December), and the Arizona Coyotes will have one representative at the tournament.
The ninth overall selection by the Coyotes at the 2021 NHL Draft, Dylan Guenther is set to represent Team Canada at the tournament - which will be hosted in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.
With Guenther the only Coyotes prospect set to play in the tournament, plenty of eyes from both within and outside the organization will be on him and how he performs on the international stage.
Guenther has experience representing Canada in international tournaments, having donned the alternate captain’s ‘A’ on his jersey at last season’s U18 World Championship - helping to guide his country to the gold medal.
In seven games for Canada, Guenther scored four goals and added a further three assists, playing alongside the likes of Shane Wright, Mason McTavish, Logan Stankoven, and Connor Bedard - all of whom will be teammates once again in this year’s World Juniors.
There will be high expectations of the Edmonton native at this year’s tournament, with the 18-year-old having a solid season with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL.
In 25 games so far, Guenther has been a consistent goal scorer and playmaker, scoring 16 goals and adding 16 assists in the process - good for third-highest points on his team, while playing three and five games fewer than second and first respectively.
The versatile winger had a somewhat slow start to the season, by his standards at least. He had 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in just 12 games last season but could only produce 16 points through his first 15 games this time around.
In his last ten games, however, Guenther has once again stepped things up and has scored eight goals and has 16 points during that stretch - with the Coyotes’ arguably top prospect hitting his stride and showing why he deserved to be a top-ten prospect in the most recent draft.
The World Juniors will be the next step in Guenther’s development, with Canada getting their Group A games underway against Czechia.
Being the only Coyotes prospect, and playing in front of a home crowd in his hometown, will make his appearance at the tournament even more of a special occasion for both the player and the organization.