London Knights Should Trade for Shane Wright

Less than a week removed from a gold medal on his birthday at the World Junior Championship in Halifax and the Seattle Kraken decided to send Shane Wright back to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, likely with the expectation that he would end up on a contender before the Jan. 10 OHL trade deadline.

While there will be a number of teams looking to acquire the fourth overall pick from the 2022 NHL Draft, there are only a few that might have the opportunity to go deep in the OHL players after adding a player of Wright’s magnitude.

Shane Wright Seattle Kraken
Shane Wright, Seattle Kraken (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

One team that hasn’t been afraid to make big moves in the past and has even made some major acquisitions this season is the London Knights. While it may be an unrealistic venture to suggest they acquire Wright for their postseason run, he would be a top-end add for a team that seemingly is looking to go on a deep run.

Knights’ Moves Preparing For Deep Run

To start the year, the Knights made a big move in acquiring the fourth overall pick in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection from the Niagara IceDogs, who’ve traded away a number of players this season. The IceDogs had selected Sam Dickinson with their pick — a 2024 NHL Draft eligible defenceman — from the OJHL’s Aurora Tigers and before playing a game for Niagara he was dealt to Knights.

At 16, Dickinson is a big defenceman that protects his own end while possessing offensive upside. In 28 games for the Knights this season he has five goals and 12 points for a team that struggled a little out of the game. Still, he has the potential to be an important player, something that his current teammates have seen in his play this season.

“It’s huge,” said Oliver Bonk on Dickinson’s overall potential. “That guy’s going to be a superstar one day, so I’m excited to see what he does.”

But the Knights didn’t stop there. As their season progressed and they, once again, led the OHL’s Midwest Division, the Knights made another big move last week that gives them an extra edge offensively.

The team went out and acquired Ryan Winterton and Ryan Humphrey from the Hamilton Bulldogs for Luca Testa, Carson Lloyd and Mississauga’s second-round pick in 2026, previously owned by the Knights.

The trade not only reunites Winterton and Humphrey with former teammate George Diaco, but it also lands the Knights two players who were part of the Bulldogs’ OHL championship team last season — giving them more experience on a young team going into the OHL playoffs.

Related: 3 Seattle Kraken New Year’s Resolutions

The two also give the Knights some more firepower up front, with Humphrey having 15 points in 26 games this season, while Winterton made his season debut after being moved to the Knights.

Either way, acquiring the pair adds to an already powerful offensive unit in London, one that could add another piece if they make a move for Wright.

Wright Waiting to Breakout

On January 7, Darren Dreger reported that, while there are still a number of moving parts in the Wright acquisition, both the Knights and Barrie Colts remain strong candidates to land the Kraken prospect.

That being said, having made the moves they already have, the Knights could be more of a distant possibility than the Colts who sit second in the Central Division behind the North Bay Battalion and will also be looking to make a run come playoff time.

Still, the Hunter brothers and Rob Simpson have been known for making big deals to push their team over the top when it comes to chasing down championships and acquiring Wright would fit perfectly into that narrative. After all, Wright comes with NHL, AHL and World Junior experience this season alone and his OHL track record speaks for itself.

Shane Wright at the 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Event
Shane Wright at the 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Event (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While he might not have the playing time this season that some would like, it’s hard to imagine his skill has diminished at all over the past few months. In fact, if the gold medal game at the World Juniors was any indication, Wright is on the verge of breaking out after a frustrating start to the year — especially in the OHL where he’s already dominated.

Over two seasons with the Frontenacs, Wright has 71 goals and 160 points in 121 regular season games. He added 14 points in 11 playoff games in 2021-22 and this season has five goals and six points scattered over 13 games between the NHL and the AHL with the Coachella Valley Firebirds. A return to the OHL will only demonstrate how dominant he can be at that level.

Acquiring Frontenacs’ Forward the Wright Call

While the move could push some Knights players to see fewer minutes during the homestretch of the season and into the playoffs, the depth and experience they would get in acquiring Wright makes sense for a young squad with players looking to get an NHL call at some point.

Related: London Knights’ History of First-Round NHL Talent

Their development aside, it’s the perfect opportunity for Wright to play in some meaningful games again having sat most of the time to start the year in Seattle. Not to mention, the Knights organization has proven over the years that it’s a breeding ground for star NHL players. Simply look at the list of full-time NHLers that’ve come from that organization under Mark and Dale Hunter.

Add to that, the Knights haven’t made it past the second round of the OHL playoffs since they last won the OHL Championship and Memorial Cup in 2015-16 and you’ve got a hungry organization and fan base.

The key for the Knights in making this move will be who they give up. The Frontenacs will likely be asking for some young potential along with picks, which the Hunters have done will in building up their cupboard of assets, but it’ll come down to what the organization is willing to give up for one postseason run. After all, assuming the Kraken see what they have in Wright, he will be in the NHL to start the year next season.

Still, London may seem like a long shot to land the 19-year-old Burlington native before the OHL’s deadline, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. With that in mind, it should be an interesting few days when it comes to the OHL and which way is the Wright way.