Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis has shared that, if Shane Wright doesn’t make the NHL roster, he will be eligible for an AHL assignment. This move was recently speculated by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
CHL players are typically ineligible to play in the AHL until they are 20 years old on or before December 31 of the given season. Shane Wright won’t turn 20 until January 5, missing that cutoff by just five days. Another way to get out of the CHL-NHL agreement is to play four full seasons in the CHL, something Wright would have achieved had the 2020-21 OHL season not been canceled.
Because of these reasons, the OHL has granted Wright an exemption, following conversations between the Kraken, the NHL, and the OHL that date back months ago. These talks focused on how returning to the CHL wouldn’t benefit the former exceptional status recipient, especially after the tangled 2022-23 season that Wright had. Wright started the year with Seattle, before suffering an injury and getting assigned to the AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds for a conditioning stint. After eight games, Wright returned to the NHL for a single game, then left for the World Juniors, and when he came back, his OHL rights had been traded from the Kingston Frontenacs to the Windsor Spitfires – whom he spent the remainder of the season with. But after Windsor’s early postseason exit, Wright returned again to the AHL, playing in 24 playoff games with Coachella Valley.
It was a season filled with travel for Shane Wright – something Seattle will hope to avoid this year. Francis told the Seattle Times, “We’re going to come in and commit to giving Shane every chance to make our team. And if at some point we make a decision that he’s not going to make it, then we would look to assign him to Coachella Valley and I believe at that point we would be fine in doing that.”
Shane Wright recorded two points in eight NHL games last season. He’ll enter the 2023-24 campaign looking to build on those eight games and finally see through his rookie NHL season. But if that doesn’t work, this exemption gives Seattle a contingency plan.