Wright says he deserves to be No. 1 pick by Canadiens in 2022 NHL Draft

Shane Wright said he deserves to be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft.

“It’s definitely really important to me,” Wright told TSN on Wednesday. “I think that based on all the work this past year and in my past as well, I think that I deserve to be the first overall pick. I deserve to have that honor and I believe that I am the best player in this draft and believe that I should be taken first overall.”

The center with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters. He finished eighth in the OHL with 94 points (32 goals, 62 assists) in 63 games this season after not playing in 2020-21 because the OHL canceled its season due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

The Montreal Canadiens have the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft after winning the NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday. The New Jersey Devils have the No. 2 pick, and the Arizona Coyotes have the No. 3 pick.

The first round of the draft will be held July 7 at Bell Centre in Montreal. Rounds 2-7 will be July 8. The last time the team in the host draft city had the No. 1 pick was 1985, when the Toronto Maple Leafs chose Wendel Clark.

“I think it’d just be extra special to be drafted by Montreal,” Wright said. “Obviously, first of all, it’s the dream come true of just being drafted. And then to be drafted first overall by a franchise in such an unbelievable city with that sort of fan base and the history around that organization would be pretty incredible. Definitely a lifelong dream come true for sure.”

Two other players who could be chosen No. 1 are left wing Juraj Slafkovsky of TPS in Liiga, Finland’s top professional men’s league, and center Logan Cooley of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 Team. Slafkovsky, who was named MVP of the 2022 Beijing Olympics for bronze medal-winning Slovakia, is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of International skaters. Cooley is No. 2 in Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters.

In NHL.com’s initial mock 2022 NHL DraftWright is predicted to go No. 1 to the Canadiens.

Wright has been compared to Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron.

“I think Bergeron is a really good comparison for me,” he said. “I really like the way he plays. He’s an elite offensive player, no doubt about that. He can score goals and make plays. But what really gets noticed for him is his defensive play and his ability to play 200 feet and play in all different situations. I think that’s a type player I see myself as, someone who can do a lot of good things right and can be trusted in a lot of different situations.”

Wright had 28 power-play points (eight goals, 20 assists) and won 49.9 percent of his face-offs while taking the fourth most in the league (1,355) this season. In nine OHL playoff games, Wright has 12 points (two goals, 10 assists).

He said he believes he’d be able to contribute in the NHL as early as next season.

“It’s definitely going to be difficult, no doubt about that, and I still have a lot of work to be put in between now and then in order to be ready to step in and be successful right away,” Wright said. “But I believe that based off the type player I am, the type of skills that I have and where I see my game trending in the next year, I believe that I’ll be able to step right into the NHL and be a difference-maker. I don’t want to just be a player that kind of just goes around and is OK. I want to be a really good player in the League. I want to be a difference-maker in the League, and I believe that I can be next year.”

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