BUFFALO | For several months, Shane Wright seemed tipped to become the first choice of the 2022 auction at the Bell Center. If this possibility remains real, the suspense could last until July 7.
In front of the media on Friday, as much the Ontario Wright as the American Logan Cooley and the Slovak Juraj Slafkovsky claimed their right of access to the throne.
On the other hand, after long months of analyzing the most beautiful hopes, the few negative aspects of their game often occupy more space than the many positive points. Such is life, the closer the amateur auction approaches.
“It is certain that all this time, when you are among the best prospects, people end up looking to put you down and find lice in your game,” he noted.
In his case, some point to a supposed lack of commitment or intensity, which the main interested party has of course refuted.
“This is a question that came up often (in interviews). Sometimes I can look like I'm skating less, but in the style I'm practicing, I'm more method than power. I try to anticipate the game and read where the puck is going rather than skating everywhere, ”defended the center who likes to compare himself to Patrice Bergeron.
A steak on the arm
Wright can take comfort. The Canadiens still consider him with their precious first choice. So much so that the youngster even had a dinner with the leaders, a gesture that the young carnivore appreciated.
"It was very good. I think it went well and it got me a free steak!” he joked.
“They were able to learn a little more about the kind of individual I am, about my attitude off the ice. They know what I want to bring to their organization and I'm happy with how it turned out."
Cooley asserts himself
For his part, Cooley says his competitive spirit and “always running engine” make him the best player available. A barely concealed allusion to the critics of Wright? It's a good war...
One thing is certain, he imagines himself well in blue-white-red despite the boiling side of Montreal.
“Fans in Montreal are passionate and the media can be a bit intimidating. This is an aspect that you have to learn to develop, not to pay attention to the media. You have to focus on the team and on yourself,” he said.
According to Dan Marr, director of the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, it is difficult to get a clear head on the identity of the future first choice.
“The first three teams to draft can easily say they pick the first player on their roster. It's tight at this point, "he analyzed before adding to the more specific comparison between Wright and Cooley.
“The line is very thin. The skills are different. Shane is a more complete player, but down the line, they could both be 80-point players in a few years. Cooley has the speed and explosion of the NHL. Wright may have an advantage when it comes to reading a game and reacting.