Kraken assign top prospect Shane Wright to the AHL

The Seattle Kraken have finally decided to send Shane Wright down to the minors after the 2022 fourth overall pick's poor start. (Getty Images)

Shane Wright's young NHL career has taken another turn.

On Sunday, the Seattle Kraken assigned Wright to the AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds for a conditioning stint.

The Kraken’s fourth overall selection at the 2022 NHL Draft has been scratched in 11 of Seattle’s 18 games this season. The rookie forward has posted just one point in seven games while logging 8:06 per game.

Wright would not typically be eligible to head down to the AHL under normal circumstances due to the NHL's agreement with the CHL that requires junior-aged prospects with ties to Canadian major junior teams to return instead of going down to the CHL. However, an option allows for a two-week minor league stint if a player is scratched in five consecutive NHL games.

Wright isn’t off to the NHL start he has likely dreamt about since as a kid. Wright's NHL career was already off to a rocky start when he was not selected first overall, despite being projected to be taken with the top pick for months prior. The Montreal Canadiens went with Slovakian forward Juraj Slafkovsky instead.

Left on the sidelines as a healthy scratch for several games at the start of November, the 18-year-old forward sounded off to Michael Russo and Joe Smith of The Athletic when asked about how he was dealing with the pressure of performing in the big league.

“Obviously I want to be here long-term,” he said earlier this month. “It’s definitely the only goal and where I want to be, and I think that I can be here. I think I can improve, prove to the coaches, prove to my teammates that I belong here.”

“This is where I want to be. This is where I believe I can be. So I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I stay here.”

The 18-year-old has struggled so far in his rookie season and will now have to rediscover the magic that once saw him light up the major junior ranks, as he recorded 32 goals and 62 assists over 63 games with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs in 2021-22.

He will likely be released play for Canada at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in December, TSN's Chris Johnston reports.

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