The list of players who have been granted exceptional status to play in the Canadian Hockey League at the age of 15 was once as short as it was impressive.
First, there was John Tavares in 2009. Then Aaron Ekblad in 2011. And Connor McDavid in 2012.
Those first three were considered no-doubters —truly exceptional talents. All would go on to become No. 1 overall picks in the NHL.
Then came Sean Day in 2013 and Joe Veleno in 2015, and all of a sudden the word “exceptional” lost its meaning.
Day, who wasn’t even a top-three pick in the OHL, was drafted in the third round in 2016 by the New York Rangers. He is now playing in the ECHL.
Veleno, the 30th overall pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2018, spent an extra year in junior after his draft year and all of this past season in the American Hockey League where he tied for seventh in team scoring.
So, when Shane Wright was granted exceptional status last year — following denials to 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes and several others — what he was really being granted was exceptional comparison. Scouts were certainly hoping he would become the next Tavares or McDavid. But at the same time, they couldn’t be sure if the 5-foot-11 centre would be the next Day or Veleno.
Read the full article from the Toronto Sun here.