The NHL draft is one of the most anticipated moments in hockey. It’s also a time where some players are faced with expectations they may not be able to handle. In 2022, Shane Wright will become the first black player taken number one overall by the LA Kings- and he hopes it won’t change who he is as a person or his goals for his career.
Shane Wright is a top prospect for the 2022 NHL draft. He’s part of what some are calling “the next generation” of hockey players.
Shane Wright recalls being asked to sign his first arm.
“It was a forearm, to be precise. Actually, I’ve signed a handful of them “he said “It’s a bit strange for me to sign people’s flesh.”
Wright, 17, plays center for the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs. He’s also widely expected to be the first overall choice in the 2022 NHL draft. An autograph on the forearm seems to be a symbol of permanence: it’s likely that someone may transform that signature into a tattoo in commemoration of the NHL’s next rising star.
With a giggle, Wright answered, “I don’t know about that.” “I really hope no one takes it that far.”
It comes with the territory to attract such fervent attention. Wright first saw himself on a hockey card when he was 15 years old, the same age he was given “special player” classification in the OHL for the 2019-20 season. He joined the likes of John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, and Connor McDavid in breaking the rookie points-per-game record with 66 points in 58 games.
As a result, fans want Wright to sign their cards, posters, sticks, jerseys, and, on rare occasions, their limbs.
“It’s absolutely strange,” he said.
In the NHL draft, 55 players were selected first overall. Forty of them were forwards. Wright, a native of Burlington, Ontario, was one of the 29 Canadians among them.
If the predictions are correct, Wright will soon be a member of that select group. He’s already dealing with the strangeness that comes with it.
“It is dealt with in a variety of ways by the players. It isn’t simply the celebrity. It’s also how people begin to take you apart a little “Craig Button, TSN’s renowned prospect expert, stated as much. “He’s 17 years old at the center of it all. The criticism, I believe, is the most difficult thing for them.”
Wright has had to deal with a lot of criticism. The talk concerning his sluggish offensive start to the 2021-22 OHL season (given context). Or the fans and commentators who have dissected his game in pursuit of a player deserving of the title of “first overall.”
“There’s a lot of media coverage, and people are saying all kinds of things. At times, it might be a bit overwhelming. But I make every effort to block it out. It’s simply outdoor noise at the end of the day. It’s not written in stone, and it’s not something that really matters to me. It’s simply what people say, says the narrator “He just told ESPN.
“Even though he’s just 16 years old and won’t be eligible for the NHL draft until 2022, he’s already attracted parallels to Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and John Tavares — the ‘next ones’ who came before him,” Josh Wegman of The Score wrote last year.
Is Wright going to be the new Bing Crosby?
“I’m sure he’s heard of David Crosby. ‘He’s a lower-case Crosby, right?’ I’ve even been questioned about it. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no Stop equating these youngsters with Bing Crosby. It’s not right. There’s no way you’re not going to go see these kids and think to yourself, “He doesn’t have to be Crosby.” “Button said.
“Fortunately, Shane has the maturity on and off the ice to view things more clearly.”
The design template
For a player with Wright’s talents and intangibles, comparisons to Crosby are inevitable, but he hasn’t helped himself by imitating some of the Pittsburgh Penguins star’s quirks.
Crosby had the dryer that he had wrecked as a youth with pucks. Shane’s shooting practice shredded the Wrights’ garage door to tears and transformed it into Swiss cheese.
Crosby is obsessed with the number 87, since he was born on August 7, 1987. It’s his uniform number, as well as the cap hit on his last two NHL contracts ($8.7 million). Wright wears No. 51 because his father was inspired by Crosby’s numerology: Wright was born on Jan. 5.
Vote for the captains of each division’s squad for the NHL All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas in 2022. Fans may vote up to ten times each day on NHL.com and via the NHL app.
“The numbers only went up to 17 when I was in minor hockey. I chose No. 51 over No. 15 because I wanted a distinctive number “According to Wright,
Crosby presently has the 87th position.
“There aren’t many No. 51s in the NHL,” Wright observed.
Wright was a big Crosby admirer when he was little. “It was just his style of play. He’s a really astute player. He improved the performance of his colleagues. He was also a fantastic leader, always showing up in the big moments, in the big games. I really enjoyed seeing him. I continue to like watching him “Wright said.
Through his agent, Crosby gave Wright a signed picture. The inscription stated, “All the best… keep working hard.”
“For me, he’s a role model,” Wright added.
This season, ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu, and ABC will broadcast 103 exclusive regular-season games, with more than 1,000 out-of-market games accessible on ESPN+. • • Subscribe to ESPN+ to watch. • Watch NHL games on ESPN.
Wright, he believes, is a different No. 1 overall choice than either the New Jersey Devils’ Jack Hughes or the New York Rangers’ Alexis Lafrenière, in that both were innovative puck carriers, while Wright’s greatest play may be away from the ball.
“It’s not that Wright is lacking in abilities; he has a lot,” St. Louis stated. “He has the potential to be an above-average NHL skater and stick handler, but he likes to make quick give-and-goes and tic-tac-toe moves than going one-on-one with defenders. When Wright receives the puck, he moves it rapidly and repositions it to put it in a better position. Then he repeats the process until he produces a terrific scoring opportunity.”
His best offensive skill, according to St. Louis, is his goal-scoring ability, which he has “with a rare, short-draw release that continues to surprise goalies.” His passing should improve with time, and his defensive game possesses many of the characteristics associated with a shutdown NHL center.
If there is one criticism of his game, it is that he lacks the “flashiness” that we anticipate from a first-round choice.
“Even though we like his style of play, his eagerness to connect with teammates and find open space, we’d want to see more flair, more’special’ moves from him. We’d want him to be more forceful, to use his numerous abilities to overwhelm the defense, even if just sometimes. It would demonstrate to us that he is capable of doing so “According to St. Louis. “He can pull off a beautiful dangle to get out of trouble and generate a scoring opportunity for a teammate or himself if he needs to.”
Wright isn’t as glamorous as some of the other recent first-round choices, but he plays a savvy, two-way game akin to future Hall of Famer Patrice Bergeron. Getty Images/Chris Tanouye
St. Louis and Elite Prospects put Wright sixth among recent draft class first overall choices in terms of buzz and effectiveness of play prior into their drafts, ahead of only Nico Hischier of the Devils (2017) but below both Lafrenière and Hughes. Despite the fact that none of those players has had consistent success at the next level, St. Louis believes Wright is an NHL-ready prospect.
“His game will more easily translate to the NHL. It doesn’t imply he’s a better prospect; it just means he’s more adaptable “he said
That isn’t even taking into account his intangibles, which Button claims make Wright stand apart.
“He’s a serial murderer. I’m telling you, he’s a killer when it comes to putting things away “Button said. “He’s a formidable opponent.”
That’s why Wright’s absence from the OHL last season was so difficult for him.
The Season That Wasn’t
When the OHL’s season ended on March 18, 2020, owing to the continuing COVID-19 epidemic, Wright shattered McDavid’s points per game record. He was looking forward to his second season with the Frontenacs… until the OHL season in 2020-21 was completely canceled owing to lengthier stay-at-home orders and an increase in COVID-19 cases in Ontario.
“To our players and their families, we owe it to be decisive. We intended to return and play this season, but the harsh realities of COVID-19 have destroyed our aspirations and dreams “Commissioner David Branch of the OHL made the announcement in April 2021.
As a consequence, from March 8, 2020, until October 8, 2021, when the current season started, Wright did not play a game in the OHL.
Like many other gamers, Wright is a creature of habit. While his season was on hold, he sought to recreate the structure of his hockey routine: skating at the same time, working out at the same time, and even eating the same meals every day at the same times.
“I worked out. Almost every day, I went to the gym to work out. I went ice skating. I went for a ride on my rollerblades. I just did all I could to keep in condition. Nothing compares to actually playing the game. With scrimmages, you can come close to recreating it. However, it never quite mimics it “Wright said. “It’s been tough to stay motivated after a year and a half without playing.”
He yearned for his comrades. He missed hanging out with them at the rink, swapping inside jokes and simply hanging around. “Now that it’s back, it’s something I truly like,” Wright added. “It feels great to have it back. You can’t fathom what it’s like to go a year and a half without playing hockey. It’s the best feeling in the world to be back here, surrounded by my friends and playing games once again.”
Some have attributed Wright’s “slow” start to the 2021-22 season on that lost season, a start that “had some analysts predicting the Kingston star would tumble in the draft,” according to Josh Brown of the Toronto Star.
“That notion has sparked a lot of discussion on social media. Even if Wright just finished second overall, it would be significant “Brown penned an essay.
Wright has seen the media conjecture and social media criticism regarding his work.
“You can’t really take what you see on there seriously. There are some folks out there who seem to have much too much free time on their hands. That’s someone who says it because they have nothing better to do “Wright, who has 30 points in 22 games this season in the OHL, stated. “I have no control over what others may say about me. Alternatively, make a post about me. Alternatively, there are the rankings. I try not to think about it, but it’s clearly something I’m aware of.”
“It’s the best feeling in the world to be back here, with my friends, and playing games again,” Wright added. Getty Images/Chris Tanouye
As the winner of this season’s draft lottery, he’s also aware of the NHL standings.
Every fan base from the Montreal Canadiens to the New York Islanders has used the hashtag #PainForShane in the hopes of a lottery ball bouncing their way after a terrible season.
“It’s a nagging thought at the back of my mind. But I make every effort not to notice. I have no influence over who comes in last. And there’s still a long way to go before the draft “he said
Wright will play for Team Canada in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, with 2021 first overall selection Owen Power of Michigan and 16-year-old forward Connor Bedard, who is anticipated to be the first overall choice in 2023.
“Regardless of the expectations placed on him, he consistently surpasses them. Steve Yzerman comes to mind when I think of him “Button of Bedard said.
Wright isn’t anticipated to follow in the footsteps of Yzerman. Neither McDavid nor Crosby will be the next McDavid or Crosby. He may not be a player whose signature is worthy of a tattoo on his arm.
Shane Wright is his name. And, based on what Button has seen, that should enough.
“It’s not every day that you come across a generational player. Shane does not strike me as a generational figure. We don’t refer to Patrice Bergeron as a generational figure. That isn’t to say he isn’t a fantastic player “he said
“All of the guys in next year’s draft have been viewed by me. Shane Wright is the best player on the team.”