With the fourth pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Seattle Kraken should select… Shane Wright?! Yes, you read that correctly. Many fans and pundits are in consensus, including The Hockey Writers’ trio who’ve put out draft rankings, that he’ll be drafted first overall. However Corey Pronman, The Athletic’s senior NHL prospects writer, published his full seven-round mock draft on June 30 and has Wright falling into the Kraken’s tentacles at No. 4.
“I see you racing to the comments section over Wright getting to No. 4. Should Slafkovsky go first, though, I think it opens up a lot of possibilities in the first few picks. I could see Wright going in any of those first few spots between 1-4, and if he starts to slide, I think it ends at Seattle. If Cooley is available here I would also view that as a strong possibility. If the draft goes more chalk, then the two top defensemen and Gauthier would likely be the considerations here.”Corey Pronman (from “NHL Mock Draft 2022: Corey Pronman picks all seven rounds,” The Athletic, June 30, 2022)
This would be an absolute grand slam for the Kraken. This article will be the fourth written between THW’s Adam Kierszenblat and I where we’ve pitched prospects to be drafted specifically at fourth-overall. I’ll give some background on the Canadian pivot, and then assess where he will fit in the Kraken lineup. You can classify this one under “dream scenario” for general manager Ron Francis, so dive on in.
Shane Wright’s Mini Prospect Profile
Where do we start with this guy? The 6-foot-1, right-handed shot center has fantastic hockey IQ and plays a two-way game that compares to Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. I can’t think of any team that wouldn’t want a player like Bergeron in their lineup.
He’s great without the puck and in his own end. He has strong positional knowledge and uses his speed to aid in the backcheck. His great work ethic forces turnovers through that pressure as well as with an active stick. While very strong and dependable defensively, he turns it up a notch offensively. He’s produced at every level he’s played at.
In his first season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2019-20, while playing for the Kingston Frontenacs, he scored 39 goals in 58 games. This past season, he crossed the 30-goal plateau for the second time with 32 tallies on the year. He’s a very strong playmaker and finished the 2021-22 season with 62 assists in 63 games, giving him 94 points total.
“Wright has the potential to be very dangerous and a versatile two-way threat in the NHL. He’s a player that can play in any situation, handling top-line minutes while being a staple on the first power play and penalty kill units. His IQ, work ethic, offensive potential, and defensive awareness alone make him a top reliable centreman, similar to that of Patrice Bergeron.”Peter Baracchini
While he didn’t play the 2020-21 OHL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he still played in the 2021 U18 World Championship. Here’s where his goalscoring really shined, as he scored nine goals in five games, and finished with 14 points. His wrist shot is especially powerful. He scored an assist in two games for Team Canada in the 2022 U20 World Junior Championship before that too was canceled.
One of the few critiques of his game is offensive consistency. However, despite maybe not as flashy as other top-rated and projected first-overall picks put up, it’s very hard to overstate how important of a two-way piece he can be to a team, let alone a building team. One senior prospects writer can justify him dropping to fourth, and until we hear his name called, anything is possible.
Examining Shane Wright Potential Fit With the Kraken
While Matty Beniers is looked at and projected to become captain one day, there’s no reason not to add Wright for a strong one-two punch up the middle. It would be great for special teams, and you can use either at the end of a game to secure a win. I mentioned how Wright has been compared to Bergeron, and Beniers has been compared to Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Imagine that. We’ve seen two of the league’s top two-way centers performing at an elite level for years; Wright and Beniers could grab that torch, and be doing so on the same team.
Of the many Kraken needs, one would be a No. 2 center. If they can draft Wright, he could assume the No. 1 center role on the team for the future, let alone this upcoming season. He’d also be given top special teams time. Beniers would still get top power-play and penalty kill looks, and maybe even have an offensive edge as teams could save their better defensive matchups to counter Wright’s eventual line. The pair could become a dynamic duo, and as they continue to grow and develop could become one of the top two-way center tandems in the NHL.
Let’s continue this little game where I predict the future. Being that they both play a two-way game, and still have great offensive upside, being matched with a pure goalscorer and more power forward-esc player could really create some dangerous line combinations. Their playmaking abilities would help give fantastic looks for the goalscoring wingers as the power forward would drive the play forward. Their defensive prowesses would help keep their lines dependable defensively late in close games. It may not work out perfectly like that, but you get the picture.
Building through the draft looks to be their plan, as evidenced by Francis’ accumulation of draft picks. However, they’ll also need to add pieces in free agency to help fill out the aforementioned line skeletons. Beniers should be on the team and in the starting lineup on opening night. Wright will very likely be stepping into whatever team he gets drafted to’s lineup right away. Bringing him in could accelerate the team’s building efforts by at least a year, as other players may go back to juniors or play collegiately next season.
In my opinion, this is an unlikely scenario. However, it’s worth the due diligence to analyze how he would fit into the team should he fall to fourth. If he does drop to fourth, it’s a no-brainer. He’s a dynamic, top-tier prospect who if the Kraken draft him, will become essential to the core they’re trying to develop. For more NHL Draft content, check out The Hockey Writers’ FREE 2022 NHL Draft Guide. Enjoy!
Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken, and is a co-host of “What’s Kraken” for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.