Shane Wright, the Seattle Kraken’s 4th-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, sent down on a two-week conditioning stint to the AHL Coachella Valley Firebirds, scored his first professional goal in a 5-3 loss to the Wranglers in Calgary. The final score included an empty-netter.
The game was tied 3-3 after two periods and stayed knotted until the 16:13 mark of the 3rd when defenseman Yan Kuznetsov scored the game winner for Calgary. It was the third loss in a row for the Firebirds and the 3rd consecutive win for the Wranglers.
Much of the attention for this match was on Wright, the Kraken player in development considered a generational talent by many pundits leading up to this past summer’s NHL Draft. He showed flashes of his upside with his goal at 1:42 of the 2nd period that tied the game at one.
The play featured a burst of speed down the right wing followed by a lighting quick snap-shot that beat reigning American Hockey League most outstanding goalie award winner Dustin Wolf top shelf from the slot side of the right circle.
It would end up being Wright’s only shot on goal.
The right-shot, teenage center, who turns age-19 on January 5th, will get four more chances to load up on ice time, work on his game, and impress the Kraken brass with his efforts. Skill isn’t an issue for a young man still growing into his body, it’s more about learning the 200-foot NHL game, learning and executing systems, and “finding his legs”. Despite his prodigious beginnings in the Ontario Hockey League, that included a rare exemption that allowed him to play major juniors as a 15-year-old, Wright missed a year of development due to the Covid pandemic. The OHL shut-down for the 2020-’21 season.
The projected number-one pick in the draft fell into the laps of the Seattle Kraken at number-four, and while daydreaming about a one-two punch of youngsters Matty Beniers and Wright at centre for the big club is tempting, the franchise is taking a pragmatic approach to his first year development.
Wright’s next game for the Firebirds is against the Wranglers at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Thursday night.