NHL Draft: Shane Wright Becomes Realistic Option For New Jersey Devils

Shane Wright #51 in the 2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
Shane Wright #51 in the 2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /

Coming into this year’s NHL Draft, the New Jersey Devils thought Shane Wright was a lock to go first overall to the Montreal Canadiens. Now, it seems like the tide is turning towards Juraj Slafkovsky, and Wright might fall into the Devils’ lap.

Shane Wright was always considered the top pick in the NHL Draft. For months, it seemed like a formality that whoever won the NHL Draft Lottery would be taking Wright first overall. Even if the Devils won the pick, it seemed like a formality they’d either take Wright, considered the best available, or they would trade down.

Now, the tides are turning. While some brought up the possibility that Juraj Slafkovsky was getting traction as a possibility at the top of the draft, we’re starting to see legitimate analysts putting him at the top of the board. The latest is legendary reporter Bob McKenzie.

Not only did Slafkovsky unseat Cooley at the top, but he jumped four spots to do it. There was a lot of movement in McKenzie’s final board rankings. Simon Nemec and Cutter Gauthier last made huge jumps.

We’ve been discussing Slafkovsky, Nemec, David Jiricek, and Logan Cooley as the only possibilities for the Devils at second-overall. Now, it seems like Shane Wright is a legitimate possibility.

If the Canadiens take Slafkovsky, and that would still be a huge surprise, it might change everything about the Devils strategy moving forward. The Devils are currently stacked down the middle with Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, Dawson Mercer, and Michael McLeod on the NHL roster. They also have depth at the position with Pavel Zacha and Jesper Boqvist who have both played center for a large part of their NHL careers.

Taking Wright means they have a serious logjam at the position. Would the Devils want to move Hughes to wing after he had a rough season in the faceoff dot? Would Mercer spend the rest of his career on the wing? Is it worth it for the Devils to play Wright at 3C for the majority of his career? Would he accept something like that?

It would be a good problem to have. Wright is a legit star in the making. He puts as much effort on both sides of the ice. As much as his season pushed questions up and down his development, he’s still the best prospect in this class. Slafkovsky has a ton of upside, but Wright is better. Full stop. Wright is the best prospect in this draft.

Next. Comparing Simon Nemec to David Jiricek. dark

The question is if he will be the best NHL player in this class. That isn’t guaranteed, and there’s a possibility we could have a 2017 draft situation on our hands. That’s why the Canadiens are trying to predict the future with this pick. If they take Slafkovsky, Devils fans should celebrate. It would be a great day for this franchise.