Shane Wright: A Controversy That Won’t Go Away

By Bob Trask – Early in the season, when it became apparent that the Canadiens weren’t going to be competitive, the drums began beating for a tank and a shot at the number one overall pick. And at the start of the season, the consensus pick was Shane Wright. Twitter was rife with remarks like “Pain for Shane” and momentum in favour of him as the target grew.

Those pining for the number one pick got their wish and the Habs not only finished dead last but they won draft lottery. In the curious world of hockey and 18 year old players, however, things can change rapidly and dramatically.

Wright stumbled out of the gate and didn’t pick up his pace until the season was well underway. A missed season due to Covid restrictions was claimed to be the culprit for his slow start. Then he went on a tear and looked like that number one pick all over again.

Shane Wright

When the playoffs rolled around, Wright and the Kingston Frontenacs eliminated a sub-500 team, the Oshawa Generals, in six games. In the next round, they were then eliminated themselves by the Windsor Spitfires in five games. During the regular season, Windsor and Kingston had similar records but the Spitfires outscored the Frontenacs by seven goals in the five game series. Each team had an empty net goal. It should have been a close series but it wasn’t.

Wright’s performance during these playoffs resulted in 3 goals and 11 assists in 11 games. It is a decent pace of production but he didn’t put the team on his back and carry them to victory either. A stronger playoff performance would have cemented his status as the first overall pick in the entry draft but that did not happen.

Today, we are left wondering what the Habs management team is really thinking. Twitter has become toxic on this mater with insults and accusations flying from both sides, and it seems to be getting worse as time goes by. It might be a wise idea not to engage on the Wright controversy for a while.

While we wonder, Hughes and Gorton are in Finland taking on the World Championships. They are undoubtedly exploring all their options, continuing to scout players who are still playing, going over scouting reports of those that aren’t and trying to get a feel for the situation.

Were there unknown circumstances that affected Wright’s play or was he simply going through a slump that happens to all hockey players, including 18 year old consensus number one picks? It may come down to pre-draft interviews with the players, or the Canadiens may have already made their decision.

Mark July 7th on your calendar. Your questions will be answered then.

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10 thoughts on “Shane Wright: A Controversy That Won’t Go Away

  1. Great thoughts. I expect Hughes and Gorton to make good choices based on the collective knowledge of management and scouting staff. We were okay with a top3 pick but it seems less so with #1 pick. Perhaps we are just afraid to “make a mistake”. The draft is a crap-shoot most of the time. No matter where they are picked some will develop and some won’t. I’m hoping for more hits than misses.

    1. Good point David. Everyone and their dogs would have picked Doug Wickenheiser, Alexander Daigle and Nail Yakupov when they were selected first overall. This year’s first overall pick reminds me a lot of the Yakupov draft where while he was the pick for everyone, the gap between him and the others wasn’t huge. The Habs cannot afford to get this one wrong.

      1. drafting kids is a crap shoot as you know JD but us having the first pick certainly helps the odds of picking one that can actually contribute in a meaningful way and I am sure Hughes and Gorton will be very busy fielding offers….2 first rounders…2 seconds and 3 thirds and throw in Weber and Price dynamic…Drouin…Hoffman and probably a couple more, this draft/UFA season is going to fun….

  2. seems to me a former part time scout has everybody up in arms over Shane Wright….

    1. There is a like to like about Shane Wright no doubt offense is not one of them he is shutdown guy not going to give you flashy highlights.

      If I am Montreal 9 times out of ten will go with Wright the smart move would be David Jiricek or Simon Nemec !!!

      Who do you see as wild card in the this year’s draft ?


      1. Sam Rinzel – a 6’4 181 lb RD who is one of the younger players in the draft. He played 80 games last year including the 4 with USA in the Gretzky/Hlinka u18s. Committed to Minnesota in the NCAA for 2023-24 meaning he will probably play in the USHL next year.

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