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The 2022 NHL Draft didn't go as planned for Shane Wright, who fell to the Seattle Kraken at fourth overall after being considered a consensus first pick for the past several years. The Montreal Canadiens opted to go for Juraj Slafkovsky with the top selection, then the New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes decided to pass on Wright, too.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner knows a thing or two about being drafted with the fourth pick, so he reached out to Wright on draft night to offer some words of encouragement.
"I think everyone could see there was a little bit of frustration in him," Marner told reporters this week at the Zach Hyman Celebrity Classic golf tournament in Toronto. "I just wanted to text him saying fourth is a nice pick and there's nothing wrong with going fourth."
There certainly isn't anything wrong with being drafted in that spot, as Hall of Famers Ron Francis (1981), Steve Yzerman (1983), Paul Kariya (1993) and Roberto Luongo (1997) all went fourth overall. More recent stars to hold the distinction include Seth Jones (2013), Marner (2015), Cale Makar (2017) and Brady Tkachuk (2018).
Wright will surely be pleased if he can follow in those footsteps. Each of Jones, Marner, Makar and Tkachuk have enjoyed tremendous success and have already cashed in with massive contracts that pay at least $8 million per season.
Marner doesn't know Wright very well, but says he has been impressed by his work ethic and attitude both on and off the ice. The Leafs star thinks Seattle's new franchise cornerstone can make the most of his draft snub by using it as motivation.
"Now it's an exciting opportunity for him to be able to prove himself in the NHL," Marner said. "He's going to be working hard to try and prove that some teams made the wrong move. That's how it goes sometimes."
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