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On The Season Thus Far and Shane Wright Needs To Be Sent Down

October 26, 2022, 6:08 PM ET [13 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Seattle Kraken Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It's been an interesting couple of weeks here in Seattle. After getting beat down by the Golden Knights and the Hurricanes, Seattle fought back from a two goal deficit to take the Blues to OT where they lost in OT before beating the Avalanche two days later. From there, Seattle had a strong lead over the Blackhawks before throwing it away with a shorthanded goal against and some careless play. Yesterday, Seattle returned home where they held the Sabres who have been an excellent team early on to only 16 shots, while scoring 5 goals of their own.

That brings us to today where the Kraken sit 3-3-2 on the season, tied for third in the Pacific with the LA Kings with 8 points (though the Oilers sit two points back with two games in hand). More impressive to me is the fact that Seattle sits fourth in the division with a goal differential of -2. That isn't a great number but it's far better than the Kings (-5), Sharks (-10), Canucks (-12), or the Ducks (-14). Seattle does not look like a great team but they are at least looking better than a number of teams in the Pacific Division.

Jared McCann continues to produce despite being all over the lineup and remains Seattle's jack-of-all-trades player. Burakovsky has also fit in like a glove with 3 goals and 7 points through the first 8 games. Schwartz has produced solid numbers and so far Vince Dunn has looked at least offensively talented on the back end. Tanev also has four points through the first eight games and it's great to see such a fan favorite pick up right where he left off.

Two players who haven't fully met expectations yet are Oliver Bjorkstrand and Jordan Eberle. The former I am not worried about too much as Bjorkstrand leads the team with 32 shots despite only scoring one goal in the first eight games. Right now the strong 5 on 5 winger is running into some bad puck luck and I expect eventually these goals will start going in for him.

Eberle I am a bit more concerned about as the sniper only has 12 shots in his first 8 games this season and no goals. Eberle needs to find a way to be firing off way more shots as he is shooting less than 2 shots a game right now. Something needs to change there.

Beniers scored his 3rd goal of the season against the Sabres and has looked comfortable in the top six for Seattle. Right now the only issue I really have with his game is his faceoff struggles but that isn't uncommon for any rookie centreman. Just something he will need to continue to work on in practice.

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Time to talk about Shane Wright again. I don't know what Seattle is doing with this kid. Next game marks the 9th game of the season and the last opportunity Seattle has to send him down prior to the 10th game where his first ELC year will activate. Wright has been a healthy scratch three times already and is averaging less than 7 minutes a game.

Wright is 18 years old. It is okay that he isn't ready to be a full time NHL player right now. No one should be uttering the words "bust" or anything in that regard. Playing on a fourth line for six shifts a game isn't going to develop him into the elite top six centre that Seattle is hoping he will become. I don't know if this is coming from Ron Francis or Dave Hakstol but whoever is responsible needs to realize that this is not the way to continue with such a crucial player to the long term success of this team.

My plan would be to give Wright a more feature role, let him play on the wing in the top six against the Canucks... at least to start the game. Let him see what the high end skill players in the NHL are capable of and let him enjoy playing 15 minutes or more in a game. Regardless of how he performs in that regard, send him down after that game. Give him the tools and the assignments to work on in the OHL for the remainder of the year and make sure he knows he will be a big part of the team moving forward.

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It would be great to see Seattle at minimum finish the month 4-4-2 (predicting a win against Vancouver and a loss against the Penguins). It at least represents a bit of an improvement from last season and with the Pacific looking fairly hapless overall, keeps this team right in the mix.
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