Shane Wright's NHL career is off to a rough start.
After being drafted fourth overall this summer by the Seattle Kraken and making the team out of training camp, the 18-year-old has been out of the lineup for four of the nine games the team has played so far. Even when he has been on the ice, Wright has averaged just 6:51 TOI, way below even a fourth line forward’s average minutes.
This is not what you typically see from a high-level prospect that has been heralded as the next great two-way centre of his generation.
Wright is set to be a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game on Saturday, but this streak of not playing is doing a little more harm than just keeping the teenager from playing hockey games.
Donato in for Kuhlman tonight against the Penguins. No Shane Wright. His grandparents were in town for the week/three-game homestand and won’t get to see him play.
— Kate Shefte (@KateShefte) October 29, 2022
Wright’s grandparents made the trip to Seattle and spent the week there, hoping to watch their grandson play in the NHL at least once during the Kraken's three-game homestand. Unfortunately, they won't get to see Wright suit up for a NHL game.
It feels like something out of Mike Babcock’s book of tricks, but so far, Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol’s reasoning for leaving Wright out of the lineup has been somewhat vague.
At the beginning of the season, Hakstol said it was due to “making sure he’s got positive opportunities to be in the lineup,” and that they have a developmental plan for the 18-year-old. One has to doubt that the plan included him barely playing the rare time he is in the lineup, and bungling their own opportunity to see what Wright can do in the NHL right now.
As it stands now, fans are calling for the team to simply send Wright back to the OHL so he can actually play games and not waste this precious developmental time. Whether that means returning to the Kingston Frontenacs or them figuring out a trade for him to play on a more competitive junior team; if the Kraken aren’t going to use him, then he will surely play a whole lot more elsewhere.
This is a player that was crowned as the NHL's next super prospect before he stepped on NHL ice. Maybe it is taking a little bit longer than expected to make his mark in the pros, but hopefully he gets some opportunity to play regular hockey this season.
Through the five NHL games he has played – and the 34 minutes and 13 seconds he’s been on the ice – Wright has earned only one assist.
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