As a postcard, the Canadian and the leaders of the NHL could hardly find better than the Belvedere of the Science Center. On the eve of the draft, Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley met the media at this bucolic place in the Old Port of Montreal.
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"It's human nature, I walk in Montreal and I can imagine myself in this city," Wright said. I would like to be there in the future to play hockey. It's a beautiful city. I look out the window, I see the water, the bridge and the Old Port. »
Wright will still have time to identify the water as the St. Lawrence River and the bridge as Jacques-Cartier.
Apart from the geographical aspect, there is also the hockey side that made the eyes of the Kingston Frontenacs center widen.
“I want to be the first choice, I want to come out on top, repeated the Ontarian. It's my aim. I also want to win. I will bring that attitude, that mentality. I want to win the Stanley Cup. The Canadian has good pieces in his puzzle and incredible coaches. I also had the chance to skate at the training center and I could easily imagine myself there in the future. »
The winger for Suzuki and Caufield
A few months ago, Wright held the top-of-the-class tag for the 2022 draft. But since January, Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley have been considered two more contenders for the throne.
Like Kent Hughes who said he was still juggling between the three forwards, Slafkovsky could no longer predict his next destination between Montreal, Newark and Glendale.
"I have no idea," said the Slovak. The Canadian did not reveal his game. But when I look at this city, I find it beautiful. I would love to meet there. »
Slafkovsky, a big 6'4" winger with natural scoring instincts, would fit well on the left flank with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.
“Yes, I said it before, I would be a good complement for them, he replied with a big smile on his face. I can play with them. We would form a very good trio and we could achieve good results together. »
Cooley, a center in the United States Under-18 program, has no different philosophy to Wright and Slafkovsky.
“As I said before, nobody likes being second, so that would definitely be a special moment for me,” said the Pittsburgh native. I had the chance to walk the streets. I saw the arena, the ice rink. I know the rich history of this team. There have been so many special players. »
Monday, Hughes had mentioned that the CH will seek to draft the best player at 23 or 24 years old, not at 18 years old. This quote from the rookie general manager has caused a lot of ink to flow. Cooley is often described by NHL scouts as the forward with the most offensive potential this draft.
The main interested party found that this statement tallied well with him.
"I keep getting stronger and adding weight," the 5-foot-10, 180-pound center said. I consider myself to have very high potential. I also like my progress over the past two years. »
Of the three, Wright is the only one who spoke on the phone with Vincent Lecavalier, a former first overall pick in the 1998 draft.
"You don't have to read between the branches about that," Hughes said after leaving an NHL GM meeting Wednesday. Vincent could put himself in his shoes and we wanted Shane to be able to share his experience to learn more about him. »