Shane Wright didn’t even have to hesitate when asked if he felt disappointment of not going first overall.
“I’m over the moon.”
For months considered the runaway first overall pick at last week’s NHL Entry Draft, the phenom center slid to fourth overall, reportedly stared down somebody in the vicinity of the Montreal Canadiens draft table, later refuted a claim it was Montreal’s table, and then settled into his first full week in multi-toned blue colors for what many hope is the start of long, lasting, and prosperous build with fellow center Matty Beniers.
As NHL free agency will be underway across team boardrooms, both are expected to be on display, Wednesday at Kraken Community Iceplex in an 11:00am PT scrimmage, open to the public.
It will be the first glimpse of a duo that will potentially be at the center of the Kraken for years to come. Beniers and Wright were each drafted 12 months apart and extremely high in the first round, are considered future NHL stars and a centerpiece of the Kraken build out of an expansion box.
They are connected now just seconds after Wright’s selection, who said he received a text message from Beniers and other Kraken teammates, such as Jordan Eberle, Adam Larsson, Jared McCann, and a phone call from Yanni Gourde, helping Wright feel welcome.
“A couple of guys did that when I got drafted,” said Beniers. “Just wanted to tell him how excited we were to have him.”
A legend in none other than Wayne Gretzky even called Wright after the draft with riveting encouragement.
“It’s not about what number you go to, it’s the situation you go to,” Wright said of Gretzky’s words.
Then, there’s the on-ice ability that fuels this situation. The flashy game of Beniers and the meat-and-potatoes/heavy shot approach of Wright are a combo that has style contrasts, still has NHL compatibility and the ability to produce amidst NHL game speed conditions.
Wright was asked about finally being on the same ice as Beniers.
“So much value,” said Wright. “Anytime you can brush arms with that guy, and a guy of his talent, you want to talk and learn from him.”
“He’s going to be a high-end player in the NHL for the foreseeable future.”
The future will now include Wright in Kraken colors, something that he actually dreamed of according to a conversation six months ago with a close friend, Brendan Othmann, a draft pick of the New York Rangers.
“It was just, the overall fit and what the organization is building to,” Wright said.
“The potential ability to be part of a situation and be a building block, and a huge piece in their team and the organization for the future was something that really excited me. Now that it finally worked out this way, I couldn’t be happier.”
Step one of that process calls for Wright to start young, and get to work on not just his game, but potentially building a legacy as a part of a core for a championship team, an idea he was well aware of.
“That’s my goal here in Seattle. To have that opportunity is pretty special.”