Why the Kraken’s decision to send Shane Wright to the AHL isn’t a bad thing


within the NHL

The final step in the development plan for top draft Kraken was Shane Wright choosing to start Tuesday night in Calgary, Alberta, where he was suiting up for the Coachella Valley Firebirds.


Wright file starts Once, a two-week conditioning period in favor of the AHL’s new Kraken against the Calgary Wranglers, part of a plan to give the teen some minor professional experience to which he ordinarily would not be entitled. A longstanding agreement states that all NHL draft major junior hockey teams age 18 or 19 must be He returned to those teams rather than the AHL if they fail to remain at the higher professional level.

So, not having the option to automatically send Wright, 18, to the AHL, they exploited a loophole that would allow a one-time conditioning assignment to any NHL player who is a healthy scratch in five straight games.

“It’s a great, fantastic opportunity for him to get out and play some real valuable minutes at a high level in an important role,” Kraken coach Dave Huxtol said on Tuesday.

For some, this will be greeted as a negative thorn in Wright’s development path; Franchise that the #4 overall pick from last summer’s draft should have played NHL games all the time or go back to his younger team, the Kingston Frontenacs. Others will give up the doom and gloom for a minute and consider what else is going on: A teen who trains and grows alongside NHL players rather than peers of a similar age — a Kraken group, it has to be said, that creates a totally positive environment around Wright by hitting top 10 records .

In fact, the Kraken went into Tuesday at 10-5-3, tied with Tampa Bay for the seventh-best mark in the league and for third place in the Pacific Division. That they were 9-2-2 against playoff teams last season is also a sign that this push toward playoff contention could continue into next spring.

And winning is never a bad thing in professional sports.

Yes, even when that win may limit the chances of the best fit gaming lead. Some have expressed disappointment that the Kraken actually puts together its best lineup every night in an effort to win games, rather than forcing Wright to do so more often at the expense of more deserving players.

For me it is a mind boggling feeling.

But it also fits with an interesting thought process that I’ve seen in the past decade or so among fans in various sports that their teams would prefer poor performance in the near term to improve their chances of success in the long term.

This is where the “tank” movement comes from, with fans – and Allegedly, even some team owners Preferring to lose as much as possible to earn a higher draft pick at the end of the season. I can understand the feeling when in 2008 the Mariners had helped themselves to a two-of-three loss at home to the Oakland Athletics in the final weekend of the season to finish first overall and pick Stephen Strasburg instead of settling for Dustin Ackley.

But these feelings, like everything else in our daily lives, are now taken to an extreme.

Now, you have fans clamoring for teams like the Montreal Canadiens or the Philadelphia Flyers to stop playing .500 hockey after six weeks into the season to “tank” the next five months for some next big teen prospect.

This past weekend, I saw similar versions of the “tank” mentality emerge in two sports other than hockey via online fan comments. In one instance, a Toronto Argonauts fan lamented his team winning the CFL Gray Cup because he felt it reduced the chance that they would get a different quarterback who might better use the team’s talented receivers in order to win future championships.

In a less serious case, local NFL fans have been asked online about whether they would prefer the Seahawks losing to the Las Vegas Raiders this weekend – improving the Raiders’ chances of finishing ahead of Denver and potentially improving the first-round draft pick the Seahawks owed the Broncos in a deal. Russell Wilson.

Both places are laughable. First, the Seahawks are fighting for the best playoff spot they can and are in no position to throw games away.

In the case of CFLs? One commentator immediately berated an Argonauts fan, saying that a championship birdie in the hand is better than two potential future birdies in the bush.

All of which is to say that Kraken sacrificing current results at the altar of Wright’s playing time because some feel they won’t make the playoffs anyway is probably a great formula for ruining the team’s future hopes.

After all, there is an entire winning attitude thing. Huxtol, for one, believes Wright’s development is best served playing in an environment “in which the team is successful and you are a big part of it.”

“You know, whether it’s a game or not, everyone in that room is a big part of it,” Haxtol added. “And I feel the exact same way about Shin.”

Some of the veteran players in the Kraken locker room will be important in helping Wright develop within their group to where he can one day lead them. Want to destroy this dynamic? Start by showing Wright unjustified favoritism. Start by playing him on players like Morgan Geekie, Daniel Sprong, or any other Kraken player who’s earned a spot in the lineup based on recent play.

Wright will get his chance. Now he is in the AHL for two weeks. After that he may be on loan to Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships. Then Kraken may decide to keep him around for the season in whatever capacity they see fit.

Arizona Coyotes selection Logan Cooley, a quarterback who drafted one place ahead of Wright in third overall, has played a total of 13 games—six more than Wright—against amateurs for the University of Minnesota this season. However, no one, rightly so, is concerned about how ruined Collie’s development may have already been.

By all accounts, Wright’s stance on the Kraken plan was admirable. The team received a positive report from Firebirds head coach Dan Bielsma about Wright after his initial AHL practice Monday. Ron Francis, general manager of Kraken, plans to see Wright play in San Diego on Saturday.

Developing Wright wasn’t an option between him and his team’s play nowadays. He was constantly on a tightrope between facilitating himself on the team and maximizing the Kraken’s potential in the moment.

So far, the Kraken are hitting their limit. Wright’s stint in the AHL would be his latest opportunity to continue gaining a chance to show what he can do.

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