WYMAN AND BOB

Morosi: ‘The big question’ with the Kraken focuses on Shane Wright

May 20, 2023, 11:23 AM

Seattle Kraken Shane Wright...

Shane Wright reacts after scoring his first NHL goal for the Kraken against the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

After their playoff run, the Seattle Kraken have a lot of eyes on them as they enter the offseason.

Salk: Seattle Kraken should look to Maple Leafs for offseason upgrades

With the Kraken falling one game short of a Western Conference Finals appearance, what needs to be addressed heading into the offseason?

Jon Morosi, who is also an NHL Network reporter in addition to his MLB Network duties, shared his thoughts on the state of the Kraken during his weekly interview with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob.

“I think that (Philipp) Grubauer answered a lot of critics with the way he played in goal. He exceeded my expectations,” Morosi said. “But I think for him going forward, this same level of consistency that he found over the last couple of months will have to now be the norm entering next season.”

Defense will be a big focus this offseason, Morosi thinks.

“What is the story with (defenseman) Vince Dunn in terms of his long-term contract? Their ability to get him secured long-term and shore up the defense, that to me is going to be job one,” he said.

Dunn, 26, is coming off a career year where he finished second on the Kraken in points. He’s a restricted free agent.

Offensively, Morosi thinks the Kraken, who finished sixth in goals scored this past season, should get a boost with the presumed return of winger Andre Burakovsky.

Burakovsky was Seattle’s prized offseason addition last year, signing him to a lucrative five-year deal in free agency after he helped the Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in the 2021-22 season. He was the team’s leading scorer in the first half of the year, but tore his groin in the Kraken’s first game after the All-Star Break and didn’t return.

But what’s more critical than securing Dunn and getting Burakovsky back, Morosi said, has to do with someone who played in just eight games for Seattle this past season.

“Let’s be honest, the big question here is Shane Wright,” he said. “What does he give you next time around?”

Wright, 19, is the Kraken’s top prospect.

Many thought the young center would go No. 1 overall to the Montreal Canadiens in last summer’s draft, but he instead fell to No. 4 overall, where the Kraken selected him.

Wright started last season on the Kraken’s active roster, but was regularly a healthy scratch. He was sent to the Kraken’s AHL affiliate in Coachella Valley for eight games before returning briefly to Seattle. After that, Wright left to play for Team Canada at the World Juniors as Canada’s team captain.

Wright then returned to the OHL, where he played for the Windsor Spitfires.

In eight games for the Kraken, Wright had a goal and an assist while averaging just over eight minutes of time on the ice per game.

In eight games for Coachella Valley, Wright scored four goals and had two assists.

Wright scored 37 points – 15 goals and 22 assists – in 20 games for Windsor.

“When you pick in the top four or five, you need to get production,” Morosi said. “And I think that a year ago, you would have thought that you were going to see more from Shane Wright in this last season. They now need to get more out of him entering next season.”

Morosi said the Kraken relied heavily on veterans like wingers Jared McCann, Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz in the 2022-23 season, but that Wright will be a key for this team moving forward.

“It’s not going to really be … the productive offense that we’re going to expect to see unless they get significant goals, meaningful games and strong down-the-middle play from Shane Wright in the 2023-24 NHL season,” he said.

Listen to the full hour of Friday’s Wyman and Bob at this link or in the player below.

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