Seattle has added some reinforcements to its roster in advance of their game tomorrow against Colorado. The team announced (Twitter link) that they’ve recalled forwards Shane Wright and Ryan Winterton from AHL Coachella Valley.
Wright was the fourth overall selection back in 2022 but wasn’t deemed to be ready for full-time action in the NHL. Since he wasn’t eligible to play in the minors on a full-time basis, Seattle gave him spot duty in the NHL (eight games where he had a goal and an assist) plus a one-time conditioning assignment in the minors until the World Juniors. After that event, he was sent back to major junior where he had 37 points in 20 games. Once his Kingston team was eliminated, he became eligible to play in the minors and played in all 24 postseason contests with the Firebirds, notching nine points.
Following training camp, Seattle successfully received a waiver for Wright to play in Coachella Valley this season over returning for what would have been his final season in junior. He’s off to a nice start in the minors this season, picking up six points in his first seven games, putting him tied for fourth on the team in scoring.
As Wright doesn’t turn 20 until early January, the nine-game threshold for junior-aged players still comes into play. Wright can play up to nine times for Seattle this season without officially burning the first year of his entry-level contract. Accordingly, it wouldn’t be surprising if this winds up being a shorter-term recall, one that lets them evaluate where he’s at before returning him to the Firebirds where he’d receive more playing time. Should he play in ten or more games, the next threshold to watch for would be 40 games on the NHL roster at which point he’d receive a year of service time towards free agent eligibility.
As for Winterton, the 20-year-old was a third-round pick by the Kraken in 2021 and he certainly has outperformed that draft slot. While injuries limited him to just 34 regular season games with OHL London last year, he was quite impactful during the Knights’ playoff run. During that time, he picked up 13 goals and 16 assists in 21 games to lead the league in playoff scoring.
Winterton is now in his first professional campaign and is off to a good start as well, collecting three goals and two helpers in his first seven games. Unlike Wright, the nine-game threshold doesn’t matter for Winterton.
Seattle had two vacant roster spots so no corresponding moves needed to be made to add Wright and Winterton to the active roster. One of them seems likely to replace Jordan Eberle; Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times reports that the winger suffered a cut from a skate blade to the upper part of his leg in practice today. He underwent tests to determine the severity of the injury although GM Ron Francis feels the worst-case scenario was avoided.