We’re kicking off our Community Draft Board today and our first overall pick should not be much of a surprise. Flyers fans may be familiar with Shane Wright as a teammate (and often lineman) of Zayde Wisdom’s in Kingston, but Wright has had his own bit of buzz surrounding him for quite a long time. He’s continued to make his strong case for being the first overall pick in this year’s draft. With a selection to represent Canada in the World Juniors (before it was unfortunately cut short) and a regular season with Kingston which saw him, despite a slow start, still finish eight in scoring across the whole of the OHL (and the only 18 year old in the top 10). Maybe not the flashiest of seasons, but still very impressive all the same.
BSH 2022 Community Draft Board, No. 1: Shane Wright
Team: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Statistics: 32 G, 62 A in 63 GP
No. 1 (NA skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 1 by McKenzie/TSN (midseason)
No. 1 by Dobber Prospects (April)
No. 1 by Wheeler/The Athletic (midseason)
What’s there to like?
Wright has been at the top of the rankings for the draft for a long, long time. And that’s unsurprising for a player with his history—he was granted exceptional status to play in the OHL at age 15 and went on to put up 39 goals in 58 games that season. And while COVID shutdowns in the OHL have certainly thrown a wrench in his development arc, he’s still continued to develop into quite an exciting prospect.
Wright, in short, can do it all. And while there isn't one area in his where he is truly elite, he’s solid in all areas, and that still makes the total package with him really interesting and valuable.
His vision is the piece that stands out immediately—he sees the ice so well and is able to find and anticipate lanes to feed his teammates, and always seems to be in the right place to make a play. He’s a near-constant threat because of that, and that’s something that opponents have to respect, and because of that he also does well to draw defenders to him to create space for his line mates as well.
He’s a gifted playmaker, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean that he’s without a solid individual scoring touch, quite the contrary, in fact. He brought a nice enough scoring punch this season (32 goals in total), and he was able to do that with a heavy shot with a quick release. And while, as we mentioned, that can take a bit of a backseat to the playmaking, he isn’t afraid to use that shot, and it’s a good one to have in the toolkit.
And as far as the skating goes, you guessed it, he’s also quite solid there. He isn’t an absolute burner, but he does have good speed, and the mechanics of his stride are sound. His cuts in particular pop, allowing bud to navigate through traffic well, and that’s a real asset in making him very effective in playing through layers. And all of that, in turn, makes him quite an effective driver for his line. He plays with pace and drives play well, on the whole.
On top of that, he isn’t afraid to do a bit of dirty work, and is tenacious on the forecheck, showing a knack for pressuring opponents and forcing turnovers without crossing the line into over-aggressiveness. It’s bringing difficultly to play against with compete and a good stick.
And, to pan back out in the basics, the surface level, it’s worth noting that he’s quite solid as well (6’1”, 187 lbs), which is impressive for his age. His overall functional strength is good and will only get better as he matures and continues to fill out his frame.
And, not to be overlooked, Wright is also very diligent as far as his defensive play is concerned. The vision and the tenacity help him here as well, and all of that, in many ways, amounts to his toolkit looking quite complete.
What’s not to like?
First, the elephant in the room. It’s been a minute since we’ve had this kind of eleventh-hour draft ranking galaxy braining (Owen Power escaped last year without it), but it’s been back in full force with regards to Wright and this draft class. He’s been the consensus top pick in this draft for years, but that’s come into question over the last little bit here. And some of that may come from concerns about his true upside because of his scoring on the season (he picked up the pace well down the stretch but he did start a little slow), but also of some losing interest in the known commodity and getting more enamored of the shiny new toy.
All that said, it’s hard not to see this as some kind of overcorrection, especially as we have to reconcile not knowing how much that missed year of development hurt him.
But there is one legitimate piece we can point to—while there aren’t really any big holes in his game and that makes him enticing as a prospect, if you’re part of the camp that is hoping for more of an eye-popping and dynamic skillset in your first overall pick, it makes sense why you might be less sold on Wright. But that’s more a matter of taste than a knock on the player himself. But it’s something.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
We’ll be direct here: Shane Wright would make just about any team better. Flyers fans might be a bit gun shy about taking a defensively responsible, well-rounded, does everything right but without a sky-high ceiling in terms of scoring numbers type of player after how things shook out with Nolan Patrick, but that really shouldn’t be a concern. The Flyers are in pretty desperate need of more high-end skill, particularly in their forward group, and Wright addresses that, to be sure. He might not be the sniper that certain sections of the fanbase are hard set on the team needing, but he’s still a very good player who gives them a real boost in both the skill and center depth departments.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
*sigh* Probably not. As we noted already, there are some scouts and writers who have Wright dropping in their rankings for... reasons, but the overwhelming sentiment is that he should be the first overall pick this year. And even if there is one, even a couple of teams that convince themselves that he’s not their guy, it’s hard to imagine that four would do so and allow him to fall for the Flyers. It’s not completely out of the question, we suppose, but it also doesn’t feel very likely.
No additions to the poll today! Let’s keep it whittled down to four, shall we?
Who should be no. 2 on the 2022 BSH Community Draft Board?
This poll is closed