If you're an avid fan of hockey, the name Shane Wright rings a bell.
The 18-year-old represents the future of hockey. He's been regarded as the consensus No. 1 pick of the 2022 draft class for a number of years now and soon, that will likely become official when the draft takes place in July.
With the Canadiens winning the top pick in the draft thanks to the NHL Draft Lottery, it's very lilely that Wright will be heading to Montreal to begin his NHL career.
Shane Wright scouting report
The forward for the WHL's Kingston Frontenacs is a premier, two-way center. He boasts an excellent shot and plays the game with a high level of intelligence. He's seen as a scorer, but his playmaking took a step forward this season.
Wright is responsible in his own zone. He's not the kind of player where you take the offense knowing he will be a liability defensively. He plays a sound style when trying to keep the puck out of his own net, and then can easily transition up the ice and create on offense.
Now, full disclosure, Wright has all the makings of a great NHL player. But most scouts don't feel he's going to be the Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews type where he comes in and is ripping up the league.
NHL Mock Draft 2022: Canadiens take Shane Wright with No. 1 pick
"He’s not a generational talent; he’s not Connor McDavid," an NHL head scout said. "But he has all the tools to make you strongly believe he’ll not only be a No. 1 centre in the NHL but have a chance to be amongst the better players in the NHL."
One of the most important characteristics of Wright is his character. Sure, he has all the tools to be a complete player and play in the NHL, but he also is mature enough for the bright lights of hockey's best league.
He doesn't give off a cocky, self-centered vibe. Instead, he's already proved to be a leader at multiple levels, wearing the "C" for Canada's national team as well as with Kingston.
This is what TSN's Bob McKenzie had to say on Wright in his report:
"He’s not an elite skater but he is a strong skater. His shot is excellent, and while some scouts believe he’ll have more goals than assists in any given NHL season, he’s also a very good playmaker who makes everyone he plays with better. He’s smart but he’s also got some grit in his game. He leads by example. Outstanding work ethic and character is viewed as A+."
Wright grew up in Burlington, Ont., the hometown of current NHL players like Josh Anderson and Nico Daws.
He began playing youth hockey with the Don Mills Flyers, a program that competes in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. He played on older teams throughout his youth, starting the 2018-19 season on the U16 AAA team as a 14-year-old.
With the U16 team, Wright had 150 points in 72 games, en route to his team being named the GTHL and OHL Cup Champions. He was also named GTHL Player of the Year and OHL Cup MVP for that season.
Ahead of his 2019-20 season, Wright was granted "exceptional player status" for the OHL. The league typically does not allow players to join the league until they are 16. However, given Wright's talent, he was granted the waiver and player pool for the draft.
Kingston took Wright with the first pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection and he made his debut in the fall of 2019, immediately making an impact on the Frontenacs. In his rookie season. The forward had 66 points in 55 games, leading all rookies in points and goals.
For his efforts, he earned CHL Rookie of the Year, OHL Rookie of the Year and was named to the OHL First All-Rookie Team in 2019-20. Wright and the Frontenacs did not compete in the playoffs as the entire postseason was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The OHL 2020-21 season was also canceled due to the pandemic, so Wright did not play for the Frontenacs during that season, nor was he loaned anywhere else.
This past season, Wright had a bit of a down year given the expectations for the top prospect. He started the year with just six goals and 12 assists through 17 games but ended the year with 94 points in 63 contests.
At the conclusion of the regular season, Wright was eighth in the league in points and sixth in assists. Ahead of the NHL Draft Lottery, Wright has 10 points in eight postseason games as Kingston is in the second round.
Twice times in his career, Wright has skated with one of the Canadian national teams.
In 2021, he was a part of the U18 World Championship team for Canada, where he captained the squad that led them to a gold medal. He had 14 points in five games, finishing second in goals and in a tie for second with teammate Connor Bedard in points.
This past winter, he was named to the Canadian 2022 World Junior team, skating in two contests before the tournament was canceled. He had a single assist in the two games played.