Shane Wright’s OHL career might not be over just yet. Already playing 7 NHL games for the Seattle Kraken and slowly creeping up on his 10-game rookie contract activation, Wright may be making a return to the OHL. Now before jumping into the deep end of rumours and possibilities, it should be known that although Wright is lacking to put up big numbers at the NHL level, he is seemingly doing the little things it takes to be an effective NHL calibre. Now with all that out of the way, let’s all get our swim gear on and cannonball into the deep end of the rumour pool.
Already a month and a half into the OHL season, the league is starting to take shape, with the powerhouse teams starting to show the rest of the league what they are made of. Teams like the Ottawa 67’s, North Bay Battalion, and the Windsor Spitfires have shown pure class so far and are my top choices to be big players in the Shane Wright sweepstakes if the opportunity arises.
My first ballot choice is a dominant Ottawa team that has so far had its way with the opposition. Posting a record of 17-1 with a whopping 32 points screams OHL finals favourites. A team already bursting at the seams with talented players such as Luca Pinelli and Cameron Tolnai, plus a goalie tandem of Max Donoso and Collin McKenzie. The 67’s also have four NHL draftees in Jack beck (CGY 6th round), Jack Matier (NASH 4th round), Vinzenz Roher (MTL 3rd round), and most notable first-round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators, Tyler Boucher. Ottawa also possesses a multitude of upcoming second, and third-round picks for the 2024 and 2025 drafts, respectively, that could be used as trade bait for a possible trade to boost their already potent lineup.
North Bay Battalion
Second on the list of potential landing spots for Shane Wright is non-other then premier northern Ontario side, the North Bay Battalion. The Battalion currently sit second in the league, only a handful of points back of the aforementioned Ottawa team, but are looking poised to give the 67’s a run for their money. With a top-level player already dawning the olive green jersey in Ty Nelson, having Shane Wright join him on the already dominant team would be flat-out ridiculously fun to watch. While the Battalion aren’t necessarily stacked with draft picks to make trade bait with, they do have a lot of young prospects who seem destined to have a long OHL career in the likes of Ethan Procyszyn, Jacob Therrien, and Anthony Romani. Don’t be surprised if North Bay makes a push near the trade deadline if still in a top spot.
Entering in the third spot is the Windsor Spitfires. The Spits are currently 3rd in the west and possess one of the oldest teams in the league by an average age of 18.04 years of age. The combination of having a veteran-heavy team led by ’02-born players Matt Onuska, Michael Renwick, and New York Islanders draft pick Matthew Maggio. While still owning all their respective first-round picks up to 2028, as well as having an abundance of future second and third-round picks, this is a team that could be big players at the trade deadline to give the older guys one last chance for a push to the Memorial Cup.
Rounding out the list in the 4th and 5th spot, respectively, are the 1st in the west, the Saginaw Spirit and a middle-of-the-pack team in the Barrie Colts.
Coming in as a first-place sleeper is non-other than the top seed in the Western Conference, Michigan’s own, the Saginaw Spirit. While being first in the west, coming in as a sleeper might not sit well with others, but I have my reasons. First, they are still a decently young team, despite only ranking at 13th in the league for average age. Secondly, I believe they are overachieving at the moment. Last year, the Spirit finished last in the west and second last in the entire league, while I do think they will make the playoffs at the end of the year. Let’s not forget the opportunity to play with fellow exceptional player Michael Misa and NHL-drafted players in Tristan Lennox, Pavel Mintyukov and Matyas Sapovaliv. I don’t believe it is time for a blow-up-the-future type move but rather something to grow on and capitalize on in the years to come.
Last but certainly not least are the 12th in the East Barrie colts. While the Colts’ play recently has not really warranted the acquisition of such a talent in Shane Wright, don’t be surprised if the Colts’ front office has a play up their sleeve. Bolstering the oldest team in the OHL with an average age of 18.19 years of age and amazing center depth that includes Sharks prospect Ethan Cardwell, Evan Vierling, and Jacob Frasca, who all just happen to sit in first, second, and third, respectively, in team points. Not only would Wright be able to slide into a top-six spot on this roster it just might be the trade to boost Barrie’s position up the standing and give the older guys on the team one last kick at the bucket.
It should be said that personally, I truly believe he means too much to the city of Kingston and Frontenacs organization for them to ship out the kid they had in the system since the age of 15, BUT, if we do get to witness Shane Wright in foreign colours, keep an eye on Ottawa, North Bay, Windsor, Saginaw, and Barrie to be knocking at the door.