Shane Wright headed to Seattle Kraken

Seattle Kraken land potentially best player in 2022 NHL draft

TREVOR JUNT, Evergreen deputy sports editor

The Seattle Kraken drafted the best player in the National Hockey League Draft–Shane Wright.

The fact that Wright fell into the Kraken’s lap at the fourth pick is a miracle to the front office and the whole Seattle fanbase. He has been the number one pick in the 2022 NHL Draft for years now.

The draft did not go the way that most people expected.

At one, the Montreal Canadiens drafted Juraj Slafkovsky, a left winger from Slovakia. Slafkovsky was ranked as the number one international prospect. He recently played in Liiga, Finland’s professional hockey league.

Slafkovsky has excelled with the older competition, winning the first ever hockey medal for Slovakia with a bronze medal. He also collecting the MVP in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Slafkovsky is perhaps the most NHL-ready standing at 6 feet 4 inches and weighing 229 pounds. The big Slovak will step right in for the Canadians  and be a presence on the edge.

Two, the New Jersey Devils drafted Simon Nemec. He is a defenseman and the second to back-to-back selections from Slovakia.  He last played for HK Nitra of the Tipos Extraliga in Slovakia.

Nemec is 6 feet 1 inch and weighs 190 pounds. He scored six points in the 2022 IIHF World Championship, six being the most ever for an 18-year-old-defenseman at the tournament.

Nemec is a right-handed defenseman, which is more of a rarity to find in professional hockey. The Devils will likely have him start in the minor leagues in the AHL and he will continue to develop until they find him fit to play in the NHL.

The third pick was by the Arizona Coyotes drafting Logan Cooley. Cooley is a center from Pittsburgh, Pa. He was playing for the USA National Team Development Program Under-18 team.

Cooley was second on his team with 75 points. He is just 5 feet 10 inches and weighs 181 pounds. The Coyotes finished dead last in the NHL with 2.51 goals per game. They hope to bring high end talent to improve their attack Cooley brings the speed and talent that Arizona so desperately needs.

Cooley will play in the NCAA during the 2022-23 season with University of Minnesota. He hopes to make the jump to the NHL the year after his collegiate career.

At four, the best player in the entire NHL draft, Wright fell right to the Seattle Kraken. Wright recently played in the Ontario Hockey League.

He was eighth in the entire OHL with 94 points in 63 regular season games and scored 14 points in 11 playoff games. He scored at least three points in 18 games.

Wright has been viewed as the number one pick in the 2022 NHL Draft since he was 15, when he received exceptional-player status from Hockey Canada in 2019. This gives him the ability to play hockey full-time and professionally at 15. He was then selected by Kingston with the number one pick in the 2019 OHL Draft.

There have only been four players before Wright to receive exceptional-player status.

John Tavares, a former first-overall pick, and now current captain and center of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Aaron Ekblad a former first-overall pick, and alternate captain and defenseman for the Florida Panthers.

Connor McDavid, a former first-overall pick, and captain and center for the Edmonton Oilers. McDavid also being the undisputed best player in the NHL.

Sean Day is currently playing in the minor leagues for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the AHL.

Wright won the OHL rookie of the year in 2019-20. He also led the Canadian team to a 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship win, leading the team with 14 points.

Wright has drawn comparisons to some of the best players in the league, including McDavid.

He will most likely play in the NHL right away, with the Kraken only being in their second year it sets up Wright to start his career off in the majors.

Wright and Matty Beniers as a one-two punch up the middle is a great start for the Kraken and is the start of building a franchise to win.