The building is also the Canadiens training site, and Wright knows it could soon become his permanent home.
“That’s definitely on your mind,” said the 18-year-old. “The situation I’m in now and what’s going on tomorrow, I think that’s definitely something that crossed my mind. It’s something I definitely had in my mind. It’s obviously a beautiful facility. It’s definitely fun to have a chance here.”
Wright, No. 1 in the NHL Central Scouting North American Ski Finals standings for the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft, is among the Canadians’ pick with first pick Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS).
Canadian general manager Kent Hughes told the players on Monday Under consideration to go #1 They are Wright, center with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League; left winger Juraj Slafkovsky of TPS in Liiga, Finland’s top professional league; and Center Logan Cooley of the US Hockey Team Development Program.
These three players, along with NTDP left winger Cutter Gauthier and mediators Matthew Savoie and Conor Geekie of Winnipeg of the Western Hockey League, helped lead the clinic.
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“Montreal is where I want to go, that’s where I want to be,” said Wright, who finished eighth in the Premier League with 94 points (32 goals and 62 assists) in 63 games this season. “Just walking around town yesterday, it’s a beautiful town, incredible town, here in the facility too. I really like what they’re going for. … I want to be part of this. I want to be part of this organization, I want to be part of Building something special here and I think I can contribute to that.”
Cooley, No. 2 in the North American Ski Scouts final standings after finishing second in the NTDP with 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in 51 games, also made sure to enjoy the sights, and like Wright hopes it won’t be the last time was in the building.
“It’s a special place here,” he said. “It’s a place where I can really see myself here. I love being here. All the history is here, it’s a special place to play.”
Cooley, who is committed to the University of Minnesota next season, said he would be the right person for the Canadians.
“I’m a two-way player with a high ceiling, plenty of room to grow in my game, and keep strengthening,” the 18-year-old said. “If I keep doing what I’m doing and keep putting on weight (5ft-10, 180lbs), and fill in my body, I think I can be a player for their team.”
Slafkovsky, No. 1 in the international scouting central rankings, visited Montreal for a hockey camp in 2014, when he was 10 years old. He hopes his upcoming visit will last longer, but knows there’s not much he can do to influence Canadians’ choice on Thursday.
“It’s not my decision in the end,” he said.
Slavkowski scored 10 points (five goals and five assists) in 31 LaLiga games, but served as Slovakia’s lead on the international stage. The 18-year-old was named Player of the Year at the 2022 Beijing Olympics after scoring seven goals in the tournament in seven matches and leading Slovakia to the 2022 IIHF World Championship with nine points (three goals and six assists) in eight matches.
Being on the ice with the young players was a welcome break from the stress of drag week.
“I’m not sure many of them knew what we were talking about by any means,” Jake said. “But it was so much fun. Just getting out there, even the guys going through with each other was so cool.”
Geekie and Savoie were paired with one set of kids, Cooley and Gauthier were with another set, and Wright and Slafkovsky were together.
Wright and Slavkowski struck up a friendship dating back to their time together visiting the Stanley Cup Final in Denver and touring the New Jersey Devils training facility.
“It was fun,” Slavkowski said. “I wanted to stand by him so there’s something I write in the papers since we were together.”
Gauthier said he’s not too nervous about Thursday yet, but said that will likely change when he and his family arrive at the Bell Center.
“I feel like he’s going to dive as soon as I get on the rink and see all the teams on the floor and see my name on the bench,” said the 18-year-old. “I think this is when he’s really going to dive in. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to and it’s crazy how he’s actually here.”
After the clinic, senior clients met with the media at the Montreal Science Center and then watched the North American Club Championships for the 2022 NHL Gaming World Championship.
The remainder of their last day before the draft was spent meeting with the NHL teams and spending time with any family and friends with them in Montreal.
But the players know what’s coming Thursday, and for one, the stay in Montreal will last longer than this week.
“It’s probably the biggest moment of my life,” Wright said. “Everything I’ve worked for, everything I’ve set up my whole life. But it’s kind of a nervous, tense energy. It’s out of my control now. It’s not something I can influence anymore. Just really trying to enjoy the experience, it’s all about today and tomorrow. Take one step.” Every time “.
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