After a dominating — if abbreviated — season in the Western Hockey League, the Edmonton Oil Kings saw two of their stars selected early in the first round of the 2021 NHL entry draft on Friday night.
Forward Dylan Guenther, an 18-year-old Edmonton-born scoring phenomenon was selected ninth overall by the Arizona Coyotes.
READ MORE: Edmonton Oil Kings take forward Dylan Guenther first overall at WHL bantam draft
To draft Guenther, the Coyotes used the pick they acquired from the Vancouver Canucks earlier in the day in a trade that sent defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to B.C.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Guenther only played in 12 WHL games but scored 12 goals and 12 assists.
Guenther said not being able to play a full season was difficult.
“I was sitting at home for a long period of time where other countries and other players were able to play and kind of continue to get better through a normal season,” he said.
“I had to find ways to continue to get better and work on my game.”
Guenther only played 12 games with the Oil Kings in part because he went to Texas to play for Canada at the under-18 world championships this season where the team won gold.
READ MORE: Unusual year creates unusual NHL entry draft for prospects, scouts
Guenther was ranked as the No. 5 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.
The other Oil King to be selected early in the first round was goaltender Sebastian Cossa, a six-foot-six, 212-pound netminder from Fort McMurray, Alta. Cossa was grabbed by the Detroit Red Wings with the 15th overall selection, a draft pick they traded up for to get just before making the pick.
Cossa, who will turn 19 in November, put together a .941 save percentage in 19 starts in the 2020-21 season, the best save percentage in the WHL.
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Cossa had been rumoured to have been a prospect of interest for the Edmonton Oilers ahead of Friday’s draft. He was the top-ranked goaltender from North America, according to the 2021 draft prospect rankings on the NHL’s website.
–With files from The Canadian Press
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