Main menu


Kraken is wasting Shane Wright's trial run

There are clever contingencies in the standard NHL entry-level contracts that teams routinely exploit. Players are allowed to play up to nine games in the big leagues before a professional club decides whether to transfer the prospect back to junior hockey or, if they are 19 or older, to the American Hockey League.

In essence, this creates a trial period for the team to debut prospects, and delve into how the future can seamlessly blend into the present. This is mostly a good thing, but there are exceptions to the rule, and we’ve found clear violations of the principle. During his second season in the league, the Seattle Kraken are wasting his NHL look at Shane his Wright first. It’s a baffling concept from an expansion franchise that struggled miserably to score goals during the 2021-22 campaign.

If you’re a hockey fan, it’s hard not to know Wright, but here’s the summary. Wright was considered the consensus frontrunner in the 2022 NHL Draft until the final month of the pre-draft process, with Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley emerging as legitimate contenders for the spot. Rocking he bell in front of his center, local Montreal he the Canadiens pick Slafkowski first overall as Wright drops to his fourth place and looks menacingly at the Montreal table once selected It looked like it was sent.

As a minor hockey prodigy in the minors, Wright earned special status in the Ontario Hockey League, initially lauded for his scoring achievements. He’s the most ready player in his class for the 2022 draft. And while it’s hardly surprising that he cracked the Kraken’s opening-night roster, his professional team is wasting his time.

Ahead of Friday’s match against the defending champion Colorado Avalanche, Wright averaged only 6 minutes and 33 seconds of ice time in three games. He was also regularly benched in his second and his third games in Seattle of his season, questioning why Wright hasn’t seen his times on ice at any level.

That’s not enough. Wright is a very talented player with an innate hockey feel, not to be confused with Conor McDavid, but an above average NHL skater with a great feel for the game. Choosing to play Wright sparingly in a trial run is not beneficial to either party.

Kraken head coach Dave Huxtle recently told The Seattle Times’ Jeff Baker, “We’ve been talking a lot about really good plans for his development. We’re making sure we get really good, positive opportunities going into the lineup.”

Huxtle isn’t obligated to elaborate on his plans to the hockey media, but he should make it clear that the 18-year-old’s center is the face of the toddler franchise. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Wright, either. His most common opponents were Ivan Barbashev of St. Louis and Frank Butrano of Anaheim, both of whom dominated shot attempts in games against Wright.

Shane Wright hasn’t seen enough time on the Kraken to launch his career. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Certainly there is work to be done. But this is a matter of talent evaluation and lead management. If Wright’s speed and playmaking abilities are really underwhelming at the NHL level despite Wright’s varied toolbox, there’s no incentive for the Kraken to erode him on the bench instead of returning to the OHL.

Wright scored 32 goals and 94 points in 63 games for the Kingston Frontenax last season, but missed out on an important year of growth as the 2020-21 OHL season was canceled due to the pandemic. There’s good reason to believe Wright would have been the OHL’s top scorer had he not taken the Kraken roster out of camp — his former minor hockey linemate and New York Rangers 2021 first-rounder Brennan Osman is currently , leading the OHL in points.

Wright was also able to play 20+ minutes a night while continuing to work on the details of the game. Like most his 18-year-old needs, he needs to get stronger and continue to grow his two-way game. There’s no shame in sending Wright out to Jr. It’s a rite of passage for all but the best players on the planet, but the Kraken has to be careful not to hinder his development.

Seattle finished tied for 29th with 213 goals in the expansion year. Preseason and Regulars There has been an emphasis on improving his anemic attacks throughout the early stages of his season, but action has not matched the message. Through five games, Kraken is on pace for his 230 goals. This is an improvement that reads more like rounding error than tangible progress.

Wright is the face of the franchise. Seattle either has to start treating him like he’s the offensive genius he’s touted for, or send him off to the juniors who can set his contemporaries on fire. Doing so has detrimental consequences for both parties, and Kraken must act with caution or risk severely impacting the development of its top-tier prospects.

Other articles on Yahoo Sports