Seattle Kraken prospects Sale and Wright.

The Skinny On Kraken Prospects Wright And Sale

Kraken Futures

One month from Kraken rookie camp, we figured what better time to talk Kraken prospects with one of Canada’s leading draft/prospect experts Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet. (short video below)

First of all, “Coz” breaks down the impact Covid had on Kraken top prospect Shane Wright. The pandemic forced the Ontario Hockey League to cancel the 2020-’21 season, affecting Wright, Ryan Winterton, and other potential Kraken.

Although he’s only 19-years-old and very much major junior eligible, the Kraken will argue that the mandatory four years of OHL/CHL (Canadian Hockey League) participation prior to being American Hockey League eligible should be waived, given Wright played three seasons and missed one due to Covid. Rules are in place to protect developing junior players, preventing them from being plucked to play pro hockey prematurely, unless that pro league is the NHL.

An agreement would have to be worked out with the Kraken, the NHL, and CHL.

“They’re having positive talks that he may be void from coming back to junior hockey which, getting that out of the way would be the perfect thing,” Cosentino says. “That way, he doesn’t have to be a Seattle or junior hockey guy, he can go and play in Coachella Valley, which is where I think he should be based on the fact that he missed that one year.”

Ideally, if he lives up to expectations, Wright would be the Kraken’s 2nd-line center behind Matty Beniers. Or be the right-handed 1B to Beniers left-handed 1A. That potential reality is still a little ways off.

“That time missed has to be made up somewhere,” Cosentino points out. “Some of it can be made up in the summer, but for the most part your best development comes by playing games at whatever level that might be, and Shane is basically a year behind everyone else. Although he played a fair amount last year, he’s still a little bit behind. So I have no problem with whatever Seattle’s thinking, whatever Ron Francis thinks he needs to do with this player in order to get him to the National Hockey League, where he can sustain and remain there and not bounce up and down.”

Wright played in three different leagues last year and in one major tournament, the 2023 World Junior Championship. He captained Team Canada to Gold.

“You think about last year, (OHL) Windsor (Spitfires), after a trade from Kingston (Frontenacs) to Windsor, played for Canada’s junior team, sitting out at the NHL level, then getting a few NHL games, Coachella Valley playoffs. There’s a lot of different things that were happening for this young man and happening all at once. I think this year is going to be a lot more steady, which is going to allow that development curve to get back on pace. I’m looking forward for big things from this guy, not necessarily at the NHL level this year, but probably one more year of transition before we see a full time NHLer right from the get-go the following season.”

Czechia To Ontario

Speaking of the OHL, that’s where Seattle Kraken 2023 1st-rounder pick Eduard Sale is headed as an 18-year-old after being picked 20th-overall at the NHL Draft in June. Sale spent all of his previous development time in his native Czechia and will now head to the Barrie Colts, about 40 minutes north of Toronto.

“Super, super skilled, talented guy, has speed, handles the puck really well,” Cosentino says of Sale. “My most important viewings of him and where I think we saw him at his very best was against Canada in the final at the World Under-20’s (World Juniors) in Halifax. There were some stretches in the last 10 minutes of the third period where Czechia had to come back, then it got to overtime, and where he was playing all the important minutes. He was involved. He was engaged, and there was some physical involvement.”

Consistency of opportunity and in his play is the key for Sale, having skated with his peer group for part of last season and then with grown men in Czechia’s top professional league. Similar to Wright’s season, it was a mixed bag. Time spent in the OHL with his age group will give Sale a chance to show his abilities on a consistent basis and should keep his development on track for an eventual NHL look.

Current Kraken:

— Seattle Kraken Roll Call: Alexander Wennberg

— Seattle Kraken Roll Call: Jamie Oleksiak

Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino on “Simmer’s Morning Skate”

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.