To draft Shane Wright or not? Four scouts in the Canadiens’ shoes


BUFFALO – With the draft just over a month away, scouts were polled to determine if Shane Wright has cleared up any doubts that have emerged about him this season. “A lot of times I had to force myself to go see him play,” said one scout. “I can’t guarantee the Canadiens’ pick, but there’s no way he’s Martin Lapointe’s kind of player,” added one scout.

There’s no need to beat around the bush. Before exposing their different points of view, let’s reveal right away that, among the four scouts consulted, without knowing their ranking at the time of contacting them, there was one who determined that Logan Cooley deserved the first rank.

The exercise consisted of putting four scouts, interviewed separately, in the shoes of the Montreal Canadiens’ executives.

Listening to them think about the possibilities reminded us of a scene that occurred during the second intermission of a game in Wright in late February. While chatting with an influential scout about Wright’s lack of relentlessness and whether he would pick him at number one, he smirked and said, “You see, our job is not that easy!

Because yes, Wright is a fabulous field hockey player. A center to boot, which increases his value considering the scarcity of this crucial resource.

“He’s a great player, no doubt about it. But every time I saw him play, I left the arena thinking I would have liked to see more of his drive. Especially for a prospect of that rank,” explained the first scout consulted in the last few days.

At the end of the line, another scout confirms this observation.

“The potential is there with what Wright has accomplished in the past. He’s the guy with the highest probability of playing a big role in your lineup (if he develops to his full potential). But his play this year hasn’t been up to par,” said the Eastern club employee.

This source was quick to explain that he would have no fear of drafting Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky at the top of the lineup instead. In his eyes, the imposing left-hander is not a risk or too bold a move.

I think Slafkovsky can guarantee you, with what he’s doing, that he’s going to be an impact player for many years. He just played against a bunch of NHL players (at the World Championships) and he was already better than them. Once he gets the puck and gets off his butt, nobody can take that away from him,” he said.

“Yes, players are great in the NHL, but the guys who are the strongest at 18, they’re going to continue to be stronger than everyone else. But if you want a center, he’s not your guy,” agreed this second scout.

The third scout gets more excited when he talks about Cooley, that third top-3 player who is less often talked about. But beware, Cooley plays center and is impressive with his offensive skills and character.

“If you start picking apart his game, you’re going to pull the hair out of your head on occasion. But other times, he’s got the drive to make everyone grab his vest, the fans will caper over it,” said the man who detects similarities to Trevor Zegras’ imagination at Cooley.

“But Wright, he’s a very good field hockey player and I think he’s going to be a lot steadier in his progression which is going to be consistent. I think he’ll mature faster than the others,” he said.

That’s why he wanted to push the reflection further.

“You’ll think I’m funny, but if I were the CH, I would make a decision that would be much more in-depth than just a field hockey decision. When you have the first pick, there are all the aspects around it too. It comes with a lot of pressure. You have to figure out what kind of guy and player you want to fill that role. It will kind of dictate the DNA of your club,” he said.

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