With the Montreal Canadiens holding the number one overall draft pick in this summer’s NHL Draft, Shane Wright seems all but destined to wear the bleu, blanc, rouge.
And it wouldn’t be the first time.
Wright, widely believed to be the top NHL prospect for the upcoming draft, plays for the Kingston Frontenacs, formerly known as the Kingston Canadiens.
“It’s kind of funny. In my first year as well we had, like, a retro jersey night where we actually wore the Kingston Canadiens jersey. So, we had all the Canadiens colours, the red, blue and white,” said Wright, who turned 18 in January.
“I guess you could consider it a pretty cool twist of fate.”
He’s also already gotten a small taste of what it’s like to be a Montrealer, having visited the city and the Bell Centre during a spring hockey tournament several years ago.
He describes Montreal as an “unbelievable city” and he doesn’t mince words when asked about his potential fit with the historic franchise.
“The organization is is really trending in the right direction. Obviously, you know, [it was] not a great year this past year, but, you know, the year before that, they made it to the Stanley Cup final,” said Wright.
“If I’m lucky enough to start being a part of it’d be just a great opportunity for me.”
WATCH | Shane Wright says he would love to be a Montreal Canadien:
He also praised Martin St. Louis, the Habs’ interim head coach, for helping push young players like Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield to the next level.
For years, the Canadiens’ fanbase has clamoured for a skilled, dominant centreman. Many believe Wright could be that guy.
As for the pressure of playing in a hockey-mad market like Montreal, Wright’s current head coach, Luca Caputi, doesn’t believe it will faze the 18-year-old.
“With just the way he goes about his life and how humble he is, I think he’ll integrate himself perfectly if that’s who they choose to select and he’ll be able to deal with the pressure,” the coach said.
“He’s a guy that rises to the occasion and accepts every challenge the right way.”
Playing in Montreal would be a big adjustment not only for Wright, but his father as well. The junior hockey star grew up in Burlington, Ont. He says he wasn’t much of a Toronto Maple Leafs fan growing up, but his dad is.
“I think he’d be quite fine with it, Obviously it’d be a little weird for him for sure. Cheering for the Habs rather than against them, like he always used to do,” he said.
“I think he’s going to be proud of, proud of me no matter what what happens and no matter what jersey I put on.”
No later than July 7, Wright will find out if he’s Canadiens bound. Winning the draft lottery win has given the Montreal fanbase a much-needed jolt following a catastrophic season.
The atmosphere at the NHL Entry Draft is expected to be electric. The Habs have the top pick for the first time since 1980 and the event is being held in Montreal.
“[It’s] obviously a great, great fan base will probably, if not the one of the best, the best in the entire NHL,” Wright said.
“I’d be thrilled to just be part of that.”