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Top Prospect Shane Wright is Ready for World Stage

The top 2022 NHL draft prospect is expected to be an offensive leader for Canada at the upcoming World Junior Championship while proving to the world why he's been so hyped for so long.
Shane Wright

Shane Wright

And then, it was over. Wright didn't make the team, and he didn't know where he'd play his next hockey game. Many believed the OHL would return sometime in the winter. It didn't.

So he had to wait until the spring to showcase what he could do at the U-18 World Championship as one of Canada's youngest players. 

How'd he do? Oh, he had one of the best tournament performances we've seen from anyone ever. He scored in all five games – each of them a multi-point effort – tying Connor Bedard for the team lead with 14 points despite playing two fewer games. Somehow, Wright didn't come away with a media or a tournament directorate award, but he got the medal he travelled to Texas for in the first place.

It was the only real action the top 2022 NHL draft prospect got last year, preventing Wright from having a potential 100-point sophomore campaign with OHL Kingston. But that's in the past – although Wright is leaning on the past to help further his drive at Canada's camp.

Despite some promising moments in camp a year ago, Wright was cut near the end – something that really wasn't a surprise given he was the youngest player in camp. But Wright 

"Obviously, going into that camp, my goal was to make that team and it wasn't the case," Wright said. "So I think, just use that as motivation this year to push myself to make the team this year."

Not that that will be a problem – Wright is as close to a lock as it gets. Cole Perfetti, Owen Power and Kaiden Guhle, along with Canada's three goalies, are all safe, too. But for Wright, this is the first chance of showcasing on a major stage why he got OHL exceptional status in 2019.

"He's a complete player," Canadian coach Dave Cameron told TSN's Mark Masters. "He's as good away from the puck as he is with the puck."

Wright entered camp on the heels of a three-game run where he totalled eight points and 11 points in four games. Wright's play was just starting to heat up after a good, but not mind-blowing start to the season. Still, he has 30 points, and that's good on its own, but maybe not the level everyone has expected. But, again, we're talking about a player trying to find his groove after, essentially, a year off, and adjusting back to the daily grind of junior hockey isn't easy, even for top players.

"I had a lot of time during the off-season to work out and to make myself bigger and stronger," Wright said. "And I think that that's a big part of my game that I really improved on, something that I've taken advantage of."

Wright is going to make a team extremely happy in a few months' time, just like he has been doing with Kingston. Wright quickly emerged into a game-breaker, someone who could be the best player on any given night, and he was doing it at 15 years old. Wright's a special talent, and one that should almost certainly become the first player chosen in Montreal next summer.

And, to many, the World Junior Championship will be his formal introduction into the television sets of millions across Canada. Wright has the chance to be the star player everyone expects him to be, and doing so on the biggest stage of his career to date. 

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