When the Seattle Kraken arrived in Montreal, they probably didn’t think they would be making this pick. Shane Wright is the fourth-overall selection and will join the NHL’s newest franchise.
Captain of the Kingston Frontenacs, Wright is coming off a season in which he scored 32 goals and 94 points in 63 games, an impressive total considering he started slow after missing the entire 2020-21 campaign when the OHL canceled the season because of COVID-19 restrictions.
It was in late 2018 that Wright applied for CHL exceptional status, which would allow him to enter the major junior league a year early. He wouldn’t turn 15 for another month, and wouldn’t be granted the status for another three, but there was already a momentum growing for the young center from Burlington, Ontario.
When he was just 13, top NHL player agents had lined up to advise him through the process, knowing that there was a potential star in the making. By the time he made his OHL debut in the 2019-20 season, he was already the odds-on favorite for the top spot in 2022, and he didn’t disappoint. As a rookie, he not only scored 39 goals in 58 games, snapping the puck past goaltenders from all angles but Wright was also named an alternate captain for Kingston, the youngest in team history.
The scene was set for him to follow in the footsteps of other exceptional players, including Connor McDavid, John Tavares, and Aaron Ekblad, who had all been taken at the top of their respective drafts as well. When he was granted the status, he was still comparing himself to Mathew Barzal, focusing on the offensive abilities of the New York Islanders star. Today, he says he would rather model his game after Patrice Bergeron, with defensive ability and the “details” of the game ranking just as importantly.
Having dropped to Seattle, general manager Ron Francis will happily snap up the top prospect and give him the chance to pair with Matty Beniers down the middle to prove those three teams wrong.