Since the day he was granted exceptional status in the Ontario Hockey League, Shane Wright was projected as the top prospect for the 2022 NHL draft. So when he fell all the way to the Seattle Kraken at fourth overall Thursday, it came as a shock to everyone, including himself.
With the draft being hosted by Montreal, and the Canadiens holding the top pick, selecting the overwhelming consensus top prospect for the past few years – and the kid that played his junior hockey just down the highway in Kingston, Ont. – would have been a layup. But GM Kent Hughes decided Wright wasn't the best player available and drafted towering winger Juraj Slafkovsky instead, and other teams followed. Both the Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils passed on Wright to select their preferred options, leaving Seattle to nab the two-way phenom.
When the dust settled, Wright decided to use the shocking fall in draft order to his advantage.
“I’m definitely going to have a little chip on my shoulder for sure, a little more motivation,” Wright told reporters. “I’ve always been self-motivated and push myself internally. But it’s going to give me a little more fire for sure.”
That fire was evident as the Burlington, Ont., native made his way across the stage after hearing his name called. After shaking hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Wright coolly gave what looked like to be a spiteful stare towards the Canadiens’ draft table.
— Stephanie Hakim. (@StephanieHakim) July 7, 2022
It's possible Wright was just looking off into the distance after his photo-op, but you can't deny that is one icy-looking mug.
Despite the disappointment of falling down the draft, Wright is looking forward to starting his career with the NHL’s newest franchise instead of the oldest.
“I think at the end of the day it’s less about where you go and (more about) the position you’re in and the best fit,” Wright said. “Obviously, it’s a great situation for me and I think it’s a great fit. I think it’s something I’m really excited to be a part of. I’m really excited to build for the future in Seattle and be a big part of the future.”
In 63 games for the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, Wright scored 32 goals and 94 points, while being one of the top defensively-responsible teenagers in the country.
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