After being scratched for the fourth straight game and eighth in his last ten, it’s time to ask why Shane Wright is still with the Seattle Kraken. The way Seattle has deployed the 2022 fourth overall pick so far this season is puzzling and could have serious implications for his career in the future. At this point, keeping him on the roster does more harm than help, and it would be best to send him down to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
Return to the OHL
The best thing for Wright currently is to play as many games as possible. Since April 2020, he has only played a total of 88 games which is extremely problematic for a developing player who hasn’t turned 19 yet. Sending him back down to the OHL and letting him pay upwards of 20 minutes a night in all situations for the Kingston Frontenacs is clearly the best option right now.
The Kraken not sending him down is also causing issues when it comes to trades in the OHL. The Frontenacs are a middle-of-the-pack team that could get a king’s ransom for Wright. The Flint Firebirds are in a similar situation, and they just traded New York Rangers prospect Brennan Othmann. The package coming back included a strong player in Artem Guryev, a second-round pick and two third-rounders. For Kingston to get a strong return, they need to know whether or not he is returning to the OHL, as the package they receive back could be one that sets them up for years to come.
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Wright is a game-changer and should have a massive effect on his team and the league if he returns to the OHL. A similar situation happened with Anaheim Ducks prospect Mason McTavish, who was sent down to the OHL in late November last season. After being traded from the Peterborough Petes to the Hamilton Bulldogs, he helped his new team make it all the way to the Memorial Cup Finals.
The experience seems to have paid off, as in his first 17 games this season with the Ducks, he’s tied for fourth among league rookies with eight points. As for the Petes, they received two players and six draft picks that will help them build a strong team over the next few seasons. Returning to the OHL not only helps the player but the organization, which is why sending him down should be a top priority.
Upcoming World Juniors
If the Kraken do not want to send Wright back to the OHL, they should at least release him to Team Canada’s World Junior Team. He was part of the original 2022 team but opted out of the tournament during the summer to get ready for Seattle’s training camp. His experience would be a massive boost to the Canadian squad and allow them to have a one-two punch down the middle of him and Connor Bedard.
While Team Canada will have a deep squad this season, with Bedard, Logan Stankoven, Joshua Roy, Othmann and Zack Ostapchuk all set to return, Wright could be that extra boost that helps them claim back-to-back golds. The 2023 tournament is going to be a lot more difficult than the 2022 summer version, as players will not be opting out to get ready for NHL training camps. With the tournament taking place in Canada, it is hard to believe Team Canada will not be pushing hard for the Kraken to release him for the competition.
Kraken Must Do What’s Best for Wright
The Wright situation looks like a frustrating one for all parties. The player is not happy sitting in the press box, and teams in the OHL are patiently waiting to see if they have a chance to bolster their rosters for a Memorial Cup run. It is clear that coach Dave Hakstol does not have any intention of giving him a legitimate chance at the NHL level this season, which is why the fact he is still on Seattle’s roster is problematic. If the Kraken want to ensure his development continues and, more importantly, the player wants to be part of the organization moving forward, they will send him back to the OHL and give him a chance to be a difference-maker on a nightly basis.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.