Wright persevered through missed season to be best player in 2022 Draft

MONTREAL, QC – Shane Wright has the confidence to succeed and the perseverance to thrive at any level of hockey.

He’s really had no other choice to this point in his career.

A month after Hockey Canada granted him exceptional-player status in March 2019 at age 15, he was chosen No. 1 by Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League priority draft (regular draft age is 16). He was named rookie of the year in the Canadian Hockey League after he had 66 points (39 goals, 27 assists) in 58 games in 2019-20.

He was proving to be everything everyone expected. And then the OHL canceled its 2020-21 season due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

“It was just a lot of off-ice training, working out in my garage, the gym, trying to maintain my body as best as possible with weights, medicine balls, and I skated on rollerblades or wherever we could find ice,” Wright said. “I mean, you can do all the skating you want but it’s really tough to simulate a game-like scenario and that’s something I missed a lot, something I definitely missed doing for sure.”

He wasn’t alone. But for a player of his status, a lost season was a missed opportunity to solidify his standing as the best the 2022 NHL Draft class had to offer.

To his credit, Wright did all he could this season to answer questions regarding his chances of developing into an NHL franchise player. He was eighth in the OHL with 94 points (32 goals, 62 assists) in 63 games, including 51 points (17 goals, 34 assists) in his final 32 games. He then had 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 11 OHL playoff games, including the overtime series-clinching goal in the first round against Oshawa.

The 18-year-old has established himself as a leading option to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Wright (6-foot, 199 pounds) was No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s ranking of North American skaters from start to finish. He did so despite missing more than 13 months of competitive hockey. His last organized games prior to this OHL season was the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Championship when he was second among all players with 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in five games while serving as captain for first-place Canada.