Seattle Kraken pick Shane Wright denies draft stare, talks Beniers and more

Aug 2, 2022, 11:24 AM

Seattle Kraken Shane Wright...

Shane Wright is selected number four overall by the Seattle Kraken and shakes hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Seattle Kraken may have picked fourth overall in last month’s NHL Draft, but they were the talk of the first round when they were able to nab center Shane Wright, long considered the 2022 draft’s top prospect, after he didn’t go No. 1 overall as expected.

Seattle Kraken Draft: Why Shane Wright at 4 could be steal of all steals

As you might imagine, Kraken fans were ecstatic about the selection, which Wright realized immediately.

“I think the feedback and the love I got from Kraken fans and from people in Seattle was unbelievable,” Wright told Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Bump and Stacy on Monday. “As a player, you love that you love getting that feedback, you love getting that support and love from the fans and all that.”

Wright falling to fourth overall stole headlines, but he also went viral when it appeared he stared down the Montreal Canadiens draft table as he met NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on stage. The Canadiens picked No. 1 overall and instead took winger Juraj Slafkovský.

So, was Wright really staring down the Canadiens?

“No. I definitely wasn’t, no,” Wright told Bump and Stacy. “After seeing the video I can see where people could kind of I guess see where it looks like I stared at their table or whatever it was, but there was no intent behind staring at their table, that’s for sure.”

Wright’s draft day was also eventful as he got a call from the greatest hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky.

“I got a call from from an unknown number after the draft and I picked up and (they) said, ‘Hey, this is this is Wayne Gretzky.'” Wright said. “Yeah, that was pretty cool. As a hockey player, I think anytime you can talk to a guy like that, it’s pretty surreal. I was a little nervous talking to him, that’s for sure.”

Did Wright need convincing that he was in fact talking to the Great One?

“A little bit, yeah. I was almost like, ‘No, there’s no way Wayne Gretzky’s calling me right now. There’s no way,'” he said. “I kind of recognized the voice a little bit, so I think that kind of convinced me, but at the start I was a little a little hesitant. But by the end I definitely knew it was him, for sure.”

Once the draft excitement wore off, Wright got to work, joining the Kraken in Seattle and working out with other 2022 draftees as well as a number of other young players. Wright called the experience “awesome.”

” It was really fun being out there, being out there in Seattle and spending time with all those guys and getting to know the staff there as well the coaches, the strength coaches and equipment guys and all that and some of the other draftees as well,” he said. “It was really fun being out there and being able to compete against them as well, and compete against some of the best players from around the world in that kind of age range. It’s always fun to kind of see where your skills are at against guys of that caliber.”

One of those young players Wright got to work with was Matty Beniers, the Kraken’s 2021 first-round pick who made his NHL debut late last season, scoring nine points in 10 games. The combo of Wright and Beniers gives Seattle two talented young centers to build around.

“I got to know Matty Beniers really well when I was there. He’s obviously another young guy who’s come in and he’s going to be a really big part of the team and the future. I really got to know him really well. It was the first time meeting him there in Seattle,” Wright said. “… We had a lot of good conversations, good talks and all that. He’s a great guy, a really, really great person and obviously an unbelievable player as well and hard worker. So he’s one guy I’m really excited to get to know a little more and get to play with as well.”

Listen to the full interview with Wright at this link or in the player below.

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