Sean suggested a week ago that the best thing for the Kraken might be to temper expectations and let 2022 First Round selection Shane Wright return to Kingston, Ontario and be a menace on Major Junior. It would kind of bite, but that’s the reality of what they face: They are an NHL team. They need to be at their best, and if they can’t spare the minutes for him, then he can find minutes in the OHL.
After about four games...we already have a talking point about Wright. Namely that the Kraken seem very insistent on making his time in Seattle very, very frustrating, and could be extremely bad for his development.
Alleged Attendance and Begrudging Deployment
The Kraken have only played four games this season so far, having won a grand total of one over that span. In two of those games, Shane Wright was a participant. Allegedly. Because his time-on-ice appears to give the impression he played almost no hockey at all while wearing 51 in a dark blue sweater, playing less than 7 minutes a night in each of his games played. He wasn’t terribly impressive in any of that stretch of time, but the way the team has reacted to playing him has largely been begrudgingly and unproductively.
It’s fine for Wright to take up a spot in the bottom six if the team thinks he can do it: a great deal of modern NHL players previously took their lumps there in their first years as players and that’s fine, but Wright then needs to play those fourth or third line minutes. Less than seven minutes a night is an unreasonably tight leash could have a serious detrimental effect on his ability to remain the Shane Wright that got him drafted at 4th overall; it seems like they’re dressing him like they have to and not because they want him to be dressed.
It doesn’t need to be like that for Wright, who was already a huge boon on this team anyway.
Wright doesn’t need to be NHL ready right away.
It’s frustrating not only because yes, it does mean we have to bite the bullet and probably wait for the team to be at it’s peak of potential, it can pay enormous dividends for Wright in the long-term, who is projected to be a huge part of the team going forward.
For as many players that have come and thrived in NHL competition out of the gate, there are just as many tales of woe as organizations rushed their young talent straight out the door and watched as they floundered because the coaching staff and the organization can’t agree on how much a player should see the ice, resulting in them getting yo-yo’d from game to game, ultimately achieving nothing.
As it stands, the Kraken seem to be making the decision to effectively play down a man due to the general unwillingness to accept that a rookie could, in fact, make dumb mistakes and possibly cost them games. That’s fine. They’re new. What’s important is that they learn. They just don’t have to learn here. Wright can go back to the Kingston Frontenacs, keep on an NHL regiment of exercise, and show everyone why he was a player to watch well before he was first drafted. Then he can come back and be a bigger contributor to the team.
But the Kraken need to make that decision soon, preferably before the end of the week.
Besides, there are bigger fish to fry.
...Kind of like the guy who’s installed defensive structure seems to continue to be actively detrimental to the success of the team and got that badly exposed to the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday.
The Wright issue also falls at the feet of Hakstol, who has already filled fans with consternation. Solving this issue will allow the Kraken front office to tackle the next early-season debacle...such as coaching...with better efficiency.