On Monday, the Seattle Kraken announced that they were assigning two Ontario Hockey League players to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds.
One of those players just happens to be Shane Wright, the franchise’s top prospect and the 4th-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
The other is David Goyette, he until recently of the Sudbury Wolves, the young man who also signed his entry-level deal with the NHL club on Monday.
Both are centers.
Meanwhile, the Firebirds just happen to be one of the best teams in the AHL. They have the second most wins and points, 47 and 101, trailing only their Pacific Division rivals the Calgary Wranglers (50 and 104). The next closest team overall is the Hershey Bears of the Atlantic Division with 95 points.
Like the NHL, the AHL playoffs begin next week.
After starting the season with the Kraken, Wright played five games in the AHL before captaining Team Canada to a Gold Medal at the 2023 World Junior Championship. After that, he went back to juniors and tallied 39 points in twenty games for the Windsor Spitfires.
Having just turned 19 in early-January, Wright still has a little bit of bulking up to do and experience to gain. No shame in that whatsoever. Keep in mind, both he and Goyette missed an entire season of development when the OHL shut down due to Covid for 2020-’21.
Wright scored a goal and added an assist in his early season look with the big club. The goal came on December 6th against the team everyone thought was going to draft Wright 1st-overall last summer, the Montreal Canadiens. They passed on him. They chose Slovakian Juraj Slafkovsky instead, a player who’s struggled in his first NHL season.
The Kraken should be overjoyed with how everything went down.
Goyette, also 19, the fourth of four 2nd-round picks made by Kraken GM Ron Francis last summer, also has some bulking up to do. Also not a problem. Skill isn’t an issue. Goyette piled up 92 points in 63 OHL games this past season for a struggling Wolves club.
Both players will gain some valuable experience in an AHL playoff environment.