2021-22 Team: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Date of Birth: Jan. 05, 2004
Place of Birth: Burlington, ON, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 187 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings: 1st (among NA skaters)
- FC Hockey: 1st
- Peter Baracchini’s March Rankings: 1st
- Andrew Forbes’ Janaury Rankings: 1st
- Matthew Zator’s February Rankings: 1st
- SMAHT Scouting Winter Rankings: 1st
- Bob McKenzie’s Mid-Season Rankings: 1st
- Dobber Prospects Mid-Season Rankings: 1st
- Recruit Scouting: 1st
If you haven’t heard of Shane Wright, then you’ve probably been missing out as he’s been the potential top prospect in the 2022 NHL Draft since his time with the Don Mills Flyers in the GTHL. Wright was part of a dominant squad that featured the likes of Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers 2021 first-round selections Brandt Clarke and Brennan Othmann. Since then, he has been turning heads.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
After winning the OHL Cup with the Flyers, he was granted exceptional status and was drafted first overall in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection Draft by the Kingston Frontenacs and his impact was felt immediately. By comparison Wright had a better point per game average (1.14) than Connor McDavid (1.05) and was six goals shy of tying John Tavares’ goal production in their rookie seasons in the Ontario Hockey League.
At the start of the 2021-22 season, there was some early concerns about his play and lack of ability to take control of a game. However, since December, Wright has been on fire. His presence is still felt as he’s top-15 among 2022 prospects with a primary point per game average of 1.05. His 39 total primary points is good for sixth overall with the games that have been tracked at Pick224.
Early on in his draft year, he hasn’t displayed the wow factor or point production compared to McDavid or Tavares. In Bob McKenzie’s midseason rankings, scouts have questioned his sense of urgency and consistency. As of late, we’re seeing the Wright that many had expected. The points have started to roll in. From Jan.18 to now, he has 33 points in 22 games and has since been proving the doubters wrong. Regardless of what his point totals will be at the end of the season, Wright has all the qualities that make him a first-overall pick.
Wright is a highly skilled and very responsible two-way center that possesses an offensive flare. The one thing that stands out immediately in his game is high level hockey IQ and decision making. He has a keen eye as he thinks and reads the game at a quick pace, being able to make snap decisions and catch his opponent off-guard, while rarely making a mistake in the process. Every decision he makes, it’s always the right one. He displays great confidence and poise with his movements, control and positioning when the puck is on his stick. He doesn’t rush anything and takes that extra second to re-evaluate his options, curling back and maintaining space for himself to get back into the attack.
Wright can do it all offensively. He’s a very smooth skater and has great agility and foot speed. He’s quick in transition as he’s always able to gain entry into the offensive zone with ease, being able to weave his way through defenders and drive hard to the net for a scoring opportunity. He owns a very lethal shot and has a powerful, quick and accurate wrist shot. This alone makes him dangerous on the man advantage when he sets up on his strong side. He has great hands as he’s able to make moves in tight spaces, all while making his way to the high danger area on the ice.
While the goal production is down this season, he’s making that up with his elite level passing and puck distribution skills. He has the ability to open the game up extremely well by drawing in opposing players, while his teammates are able to get open. He does a great job of putting the puck in the right spot for his team to capitalize on a grade A chance. He has great control of the puck and is able to make crisp and accurate tape-to-tape passes.
When he doesn’t have the puck, Wright’s defensive game is just as effective when he’s away from the puck and within his own end. He displays a great understanding of where he needs to be positionally and is always engaged in pressuring the opposition to force a turnover. His speed allows him to come back quickly and help on the backcheck. He has an active stick being able to quickly lift the opponent’s stick and force turnovers by converging on the puck carrier.
Shane Wright- NHL Draft Projection
There has been some debate about whether Wright deserves to have the first overall label. Scouts have said that the gap for first overall has narrowed as it might be a closer race than expected. While that may be true, this is a player that has shown to be dominant as an under-age player, at the junior or international level. Despite the average production, Wright should still be the first overall pick no matter what.
“He’s not an elite skater but he is a strong skater. His shot is excellent, and while some scouts believe he’ll have more goals than assists in any given NHL season, he’s also a very good playmaker who makes everyone he plays with better. He’s smart but he’s also got some grit in his game. He leads by example. Outstanding work ethic and character is viewed as A+.”– Bob McKenzie, TSN
“The Kingston Frontenacs star can do it all and it starts with his intelligence all over the ice. He reads the play at an elite level, finding space in transition as well as in the offensive zone, getting into passing lanes on the defensive side, and just generally being in the right place at the right time more often than not. Wright is a technically sound skater with good speed and the agility to weave through traffic or adjust to broken plays and come up with contested pucks.”– Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects
“Wright is the primary puck carrier on his line as his decision-making and composure allow him to dictate play up ice reliably. Shane routinely stops or delays and looks for a passing option upon entering the zone. As a result, Wright enables his team to gain the zone and begin a controlled offensive possession nearly every time he leads the transition.”– Jordan Malette, SMAHT Scouting
“It’s easy to see why Wright is seen as a future franchise player. He can do it all on the ice. He is an outstanding skater with excellent speed, acceleration, agility and balance. Wright combines that skating with all of the offensive skills one would want. His stickhandling is top-notch and he can make plays while moving at top speed. His shot is deadly accurate, has a ton of power, and he gets it off with a very quick release.”– Ben Kerr, LWOS
- Strong two-way game
- High-end IQ
- Great speed
- Strong play making abilities
- Powerful Wrist shot
- Great work ethic
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
- Offensive consistency
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.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 1/5, Reward 5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense- 8.5/10, Defense 9/10
In 2018-19, Wright was both a GTHL and OHL Cup Champion with the Don Mills Flyers. He was also named GTHL Player of the Year and OHL Cup MVP. He was named CHL Rookie of the Year, OHL Rookie of the Year and was named to the OHL First All- Rookie Team in 2019-20. He also captained Canada to a gold medal at the 2021 U18 World Championship, being a top-three player.
Shane Wright Statistics
Peter is in his third year with The Hockey Writers, covering the Toronto Maple Leafs and heading the Draft and Prospects section. He has previously interned at The Hockey News and worked on Toronto Marlies broadcasts for Rogers TV. He currently is the co-host of the podcast Sticks in the 6ix and a frequent guest on Maple Leafs Lounge. Aside from hockey, he also enjoys drumming, animation and impressions/ voices.