June 24, 2022 – Montreal
After a dismal campaign, the Montreal Canadiens find themselves with the first overall picking the upcoming NHL draft- and although there are a handful of intriguing candidates – one stands head and shoulders above the pack – Shane Wright.
Going from Stanley Cup finalists to last place in just a single season, normally would be construed as an absolute disaster, yet for the storied Montreal Canadiens, perhaps it is a blessing in disguise. One that gives the franchise a chance to start fresh – a rebuild, although nobody in the organization is willing top openly call it that. Such a thing has been needed in la belle province for a long time, but instead now former general manager marc Bergevin opted for a decade’s worth of band-aid solutions instead.
Since losing to Tampa Bay in a fairly one-sided cup battle, the Montreal Canadiens have undergone drastic change. Most notably in the head office, where change was most desperately needed. Bergervin leaves after a decade of disappointment and is replaced by a dynamic duo that to this point, have done no wrong. Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton have brought a breath of fresh air into a stagnating franchise and the feeling is that they have yet to really make their mark on the team. The small changes that they have made, so far, have all been revered and intelligent moves. Mostly personal changes and moving veteran players out for prospects and draft picks.
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In a week’s time, Hughes and Gorton will be overseeing their first draft at the helm of the Habs, and the talent pool this year contains several potential big fish. Simon Nemec, David Jiricek, Logan Cooley, Juraj Slafkovsky and Matthew Savoie may have the new brass questioning themselves, but ultimately the move to make, in front of their home fans, is Shane Wright.
Wright has the potential to make a big splash at the NHL level and is the type of player Montreal has been in need of for more than a decade. A skilled two-way center with size that can both open up space in the offensive zone while playing a shut down role against the opponents big guns. Wright has solid skating ability, although not the fastest player on the ice. Great vision and the ability top open up the ice and find teammates. Like the Montreal Canadiens, Wright didn’t have the best first half to his most recent season, but there were huge signs of improvement in the latter half. Wright excels at the defensive aspect of the game too, making him a solid, two-way center.
Often compared to players like Patrice Bergeron or John Tavares, a one-two punch with current Habs centreman Nick Suzuki could be exact what the new look Habs need. A cornerstone piece to go with an impressive set of youngsters already in the organization. The Montreal Canadiens also hold the 26th overall pick and there are lots or murmurs that the Canadiens could be looking to make more moves come draft day. One name that continues to pop up, is that of Jeff Petry, with several teams seemingly showing interest.
The Habs have Cole Caufield on the wing, who was putting up Calder trophy worthy points since the coaching change that saw Bergevin’s man, Dominique Ducharme, ousted for Martin St. Louis. But he isn’t the only young Hab to have enjoyed success since the coaching switch. Alexander Romanov, was often benched under Ducharme’s reign, has flourished. As have young hopefuls like Corey Schueneman and Jake Evans.
With players like Cayden Primeau, Joshua Roy, Riley Kidney, Kaiden Guhle, Jesse Ylonen and Justin Baron pushing at the door, the Montreal Canadiens will soon find themselves in a very interesting situation.
Shane Wright should most definitely become the first overall draft pick on Thursday, July 7th, in Montreal, where he more than likely will become a fan favorite in short to no time.