Shane Wright expected to be among World Junior camp invites

On this edition of 32 thoughts, Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discuss how the Canucks are starting to explore a trade with Brock Boeser, the possibility of the All-Star game coming to Canada in 2024 & when the World Jr. roster will be announced.

Team Canada is expected to send out camp invitations Monday for the 2023 men’s world junior championship, and at least two NHLers could be on the list.

“It sounds as if we should look for an announcement on Monday,” reported Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek in the 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. “That’s the way things are trending and I’m told that is the plan as of now.”

Two NHL names of note to watch for will be Dylan Guenther of the Arizona Coyotes and Shane Wright, fourth-overall pick of the Seattle Kraken in June.

Guenther, said Marek, “is expected to be one of the NHLers to play” in the upcoming tournament, while “it does very much sound like the Seattle Kraken will make Shane Wright available.”

Guenther is off to a strong start in his rookie season in the desert. Arizona’s ninth-overall pick in 2021 has three goals and 11 points in 18 games and his presence on Team Canada would be a major asset.

Wright’s rookie season has stalled, however, his development in Seattle a topic of much discussion through the first quarter of the season. The 2022 first-rounder, whom many believed was destined to be selected first overall by Montreal, started the season with the Kraken out of camp but has played just seven games, averaging 8:06 a night. His last appearance was Nov. 5, with Seattle’s success in the standings and chemistry on the ice playing a role in preventing the rookie from cracking the lineup on a regular basis.

Sending Wright back to the OHL is an option, though far from an ideal one considering his Ontario club, the Kingston Frontenacs, aren’t likely to contend this year and that could hinder his development. The 18-year-old was loaned to Seattle’s AHL affiliate in Coachella Valley on Nov. 20 on a conditioning stint but, per league rules, cannot be assigned there full-time and is scheduled to be back with Seattle on Sunday.

The 2023 world junior championships will take place in Halifax and Moncton, N.B., from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.

Canada enters the tournament as the defending gold medallists after winning the 2022 event in August – a rare summertime showcase, rescheduled after the December event was postponed due to a series of COVID outbreaks.

Both Wright and Guenther were named to Team Canada’s 2022 roster last December, but were not loaned by their NHL clubs for August’s make-up tournament. Both previously excelled on the under-18 international stage: Wright tallied nine goals and 14 points in five games for Canada at the 2020-21 U-18s, while Guenther put up four goals and seven points in seven games at that same tournament.

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