2022 NHL Draft Tracker: Shane Wright
There’s very little introduction required when it comes to Shane Wright, the exceptional talent that stands alone, at least for now, atop the conversation for the 2022 NHL Draft.
The Burlington, ON superstar is the No.1 ranked prospect for good reason.
Wright is entering his second season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Kingston Frontenacs, where he looks to rack up impressive numbers in the scoring column. Throughout his rookie season and at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Junior Championships in Texas this past Spring, Wright displayed a great deal of skill.
He has the spotlight on him; now he has to prove to everyone why he should be selected as the top pick.
“The justifiable excitement around Shane Wright is due to him being the total package elite centre that teams are always looking for in a first overall draft selection,” FCHockey head Eastern scout Dylan Galloway said. “The center plays a cerebral and poised style that combines well with his playmaking vision and offensive skills and projects extremely well to the pro level.
“His intelligence on and off the puck feeds into his ability to read and react to the play on both sides of the puck and makes him tricky to pin down in the offensive zone. Simultaneously, Wright contributes well in the neutral zone and great at breaking up plays on the back check and redirecting it back up ice.”
WHO IS SHANE WRIGHT?
Wright was a member of the Don Mills Flyers program, which has seen many former players selected in recent NHL Drafts, including Brandt Clarke and Brennan Othmann. He recorded 150 points (66 goals, 84 assists) in 72 games in 2018-19, setting a franchise record and leading his team to an OHL Cup title. The performance was indicative of Wright’s future success — he was granted exceptional player status by the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and was ultimately selected first overall by the Kingston Frontenacs in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.
After dominating the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL), he joined the Frontenacs and had a stellar rookie season, earning him OHL and CHL Rookie of the Year awards.
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, the OHL paused and eventually canceled its 2020-21 season, leaving players with no choice but to stay home or play in a different league. Wright focused on training and development and stayed close to home.
In spite of the hiatus, Wright is still considered the consensus No. 1 pick, despite not playing in a single OHL game last season.
Wright has undoubtedly dominated the hockey scene at every single level he has played at.
In the 2017-18 OHF Bantam season, he debuted as an underager for the Don Mills Flyers U15 squad where he recorded 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in eight games. That following season, Wright played in both the U16 AAA, and the GTHL for the Flyers. While playing in the under-16 triple-AAA league, he recorded an astounding 150 points, which included 66 goals.
While in the GTHL, he put up 72 points (31 goals, 41, assists) in 33 regular season games. He represented and helped the Flyers win the OHL Cup where he put on a dominating performance recording 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in seven games, he was named MVP of the tournament. He also played for Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games (CWG) securing a silver medal and put up 12 points in six games.
He made his OHL debut in 2019-20 and in a shortened season he recorded 66 points (39 goals, 27 assists) in 58 games. Wright also played a big role on the power play, recording 15 power play points (nine goals, six assists), according to pick224.com.
Internationally, Wright was named captain of Canada Black at the 2019 IIHF Under-17 World Hockey Championship, where he went on to put up seven points (four goals, three assists) in five games. Wright again represented Team Canada at the international level at the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, where he helped Canada win their first gold medal since 2013 with 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in just five games.
One of Wright’s biggest assets is his overall to read the game as he is always one step ahead of the competition.
His elite hockey IQ, stickhandling, and excellent skating allow for him to be a pure threat when he is on the ice. His confidence is high, thus allowing him to take on critical situations with ease, often times he will use his supreme acceleration to separate himself from an opponent. He also possesses a laser-beam of a shot that is deadly accurate, complimenting all of Wright’s other traits to make him the draft’s premier offensive threat.
He is not afraid to play the physical game and will often be seen breaking up plays and starting the transition game, either.
“Wright plays a well-rounded mature game,” FCHockey scout Austin Broad said. “He can impact the game at either end of the ice. Offensively he’s a dynamic creator, he has no issue driving play and creating opportunities for his teammates or playing off the puck to create a chance for himself. Defensively he’s way more developed than I expect a player his age to be. He can suppress the other team’s attack and negate scoring chances. A player with his strength, skating ability and puck skills is nearly impossible to stop. When you watch Wright play against players around his age it’s easy to see he is the best of the group and by a wide margin.”
WRIGHT’S AREAS OF IMPROVEMENTS
As easy as it is to say, Wright does everything right. He is an elite-level prospect who holds almost zero flaws. He served as an assistant captain with Kingston in 2019-20, becoming the youngest player in CHL history to wear a letter on their jersey. That says a lot about the character of Wright.
“The main focus of improvement for Wright this year will be improving his small area agility and explosiveness,” Galloway said. “He can occasionally show some heavy boots as he glides around the ice but due to his intelligence it doesn’t affect his ability to be in the right place at the right times. Improving his explosiveness and overall skating will make him an incredible force on the offensive side of the puck and take his game even further into elite status.”
Overall, the Frontenacs’ prodigy will become a franchise player in the NHL and the team that drafts him will be able to utilize him immediately in their lineup the following season.
With all the attributes that Wright possesses, he can make an immediate impact on the team he plays on in the NHL. It’s almost certain that he will surpass 100 points this year in the OHL. Once again, he will have the opportunity to shine on the international stage when he debuts for Canada at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, AB later this year.
Wright, who already has a stranglehold on the position, will be looking to solidify his status as the No. 1 pick for the 2022 draft.