Shane Wright is still the odds on favourite to be drafted first overall at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft July 7 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
While some NHL Draft experts in the media have flip-flopped, the former Kingston Frontenacs center with Slovakian and top European prospect Juraj Slafkovsky recently, Wright was still a heavy favourite at Fanduel Sportsbook at -1150. Slafkovsky is currently at +1000, and University of Minnesota Gophers Hockey commit Logan Cooley came in at +1700.
1st overall pick odds as of today at @FDSportsbook
Shane Wright implied odds of 92% to be the 1st pick pic.twitter.com/HPTeQ63q5f
— Evan (@Shattenkirk) June 1, 2022
Slafkovsky had another impressive performance on the international stage with three goals and six assists in eight games for Slovakia at the recently completed 2022 World Championships in Finland. That and a strong second half by Slafkovsky prompted media draft experts like Corey Pronman of The Athletic to slot the 6-foot-4, 218-pound Slovakian winger ahead of the 6-foot-1, 187-pound Wright. However, as one NHL executive source pointed out to Montreal Hockey Now recently, Shane Wright just makes more sense for the Montreal Canadiens and a general manager in Kent Hughes that wants to build his team up the middle going forward.
“The Canadiens have [Nick] Suzuki but then what on the NHL roster up the middle?” the source pointed out to MHN. “They’ve got some good kids coming but then you add Wright? Now you’re tight up the middle as those kids come right Forget what they could bring in via trade or free agency, look at the potential of that 1-2-3 up the middle with Suzuki, Wright and [Riley] Kidney.”
A longtime NHL amatuer scout concurred.
“Montreal wants to build up the middle; why would they not take Shane Wright?” said the source. “Look, has Slafkovsky not turned some heads at the Worlds? Of course he has. Let’s think about this though. Who is the guy that’s been more consistent? Who do you want if you’re the Habs? I build up the middle. …you?”
Right now at least, the oddsmakers agree.