Seattle Kraken, Shane Wright

Shane Wright of Kraken Will Play Against Montreal

Kraken Active Prospect

Seattle Kraken Head Coach Dave Hakstol said forward Shane Wright will be in the line-up on Tuesday night at Climate Pledge Arena against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Kraken’s 4th-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft is just back from a five-game American Hockey League conditioning stint with the Coachella Valley Firebirds where he scored four goals on eleven shots and added a shoot-out tally.

Considered the top prospect heading into this past summer’s draft in Montreal, Wright was passed over by the Canadiens who took Slovakian forward Juraj Slafkovski with the 1st-overall pick. The New Jersey Devils took Slovakian defenseman Simon Nemec next, followed by the Arizona Coyotes taking US National Team Development Program (NTDP) center Logan Cooley third.

Some called Wright being passed over “a snub”, and many view Tuesday night as an opportunity for retribution for Wright, should he have a big night.

“I mean, I’m just going to try and treat it as another game I think,” Wright said after practice on Monday. “Obviously my first one back from being in Coachella, so I’m going to try and play with confidence if I’m in the line-up and not really going to think anything extra, anything special, just kind of take it as your normal hockey game.”

It was about twenty minutes after that comment that Hakstol announced Wright would indeed be in the line-up. The coach was aware of the potential emotional ramifications for the 18-year-old forward.

“Use it however it feels good,” Hakstol said. “Emotion is part of the game. You guys will talk about it a lot, I’m guessing we won’t talk about it a whole bunch. That’s just pure fact. I mean, you can make it a great story if you like, from your standpoint. It’s not a story from our standpoint. Shane’s gone through all of the processes here, he went down, he’s played really well for five games and it’s a good opportunity to play tomorrow. I want him to be excited to play for our team tomorrow and I know that’s how he’s going to feel.”

The decision was made a bit easier due to the fact regular Kraken 4th-line center Morgan Geekie remains day-to-day with an upper body injury. It appears he’ll miss his 4th consecutive game. Or, someone else comes out. Geekie practiced with the club on Monday after participating in the morning skate on Saturday.

It’s not as though Wright will suddenly be seeing top line minutes. In seven previous Kraken games he’s tallied a single assist, all while averaging 4th-line minutes throughout. Making an impact would be nice, scoring his first NHL goal would be a huge bonus.

“Like I’ve said, it’s just kind of taking it one shift at a time and hopefully I can play with some confidence and maybe get lucky for a bounce in here for my first one, but we’ll see.”

There is still a distinct possibility Wright gets the call and is allowed to play for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship that starts later this month in Nova Scotia.

“I mean, anytime you can represent your country on the World Junior stage, something you grew up watching and not something you can pass up too easy,” Wright said. “So, obviously no final decision has been made yet, but it’s definitely always a tough thing to pass up if the opportunity comes.”

Ink it? For sure make plans for an entertaining night of hockey at the Seattle Kraken game on Tuesday night.

Last week, Seattle Hockey Insider explored the possibility of Wright vs. Montreal, at the time a bit unlikely.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.