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Kraken GM thinks Wright will play whole season in Seattle

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Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis is hopeful that rookie forward Shane Wright will play the full 2022-23 season in the NHL.

"I don't want to draw a line in the sand, but I would think he's with us for the year," Francis told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. "It's just a matter of how things go and managing it. … But I think he'll be fine. He's fit right in. He does a lot of good things."

At the very least, Francis said he believes Wright will start the season with the Kraken. The center has logged one assist across four games of preseason action so far, according to Natural Stat Trick.

"Him coming to us in Seattle is going to be good for him," Francis said. "It will give him time to develop and mature as a player; get stronger. He's still only 18 years old.

"There's a lot of progression in front of him. But I'm really pleased with what we see. He thinks the game well. He sees the game at a high level. His hands are extremely quick. He sees the right play."

After tumbling to the No. 4 spot in the 2022 NHL Draft, Wright's career in the big leagues didn't start the way many expected. For one, he's a member of the Kraken rather than the Montreal Canadiens, who made the somewhat surprising move to take Juraj Slafkovsky with the first overall pick.

Meanwhile, Seattle's inaugural season didn't go as planned in 2021-22, with a last-place finish in the Pacific Division and a minus-69 goal differential, but there's bound to be more excitement entering Year 2 of the Kraken.

It'll be Kraken fans' first opportunity to see both franchise cornerstones - Matty Beniers and Wright - in action at the same time. Beniers already passed his first NHL test with flying colors last season, posting nine points in 10 games at the end of Seattle's campaign.

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