24-Year-Old Center – Free Agent
James Wright Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in July 2014.
Coach Paul Maurice said that Wright is dealing with an ankle sprain and will be out indefinitely.
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James Wright: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for James Wright.
A mobile large body with energy to spare, Wright was a quality waiver pickup from Florida. Wright remains a project albeit one with some upside. Leave alone for now, but monitor his progress during training camp.
Wright has prototypical NHL size, but inconsistent offensive play has kept him from taking his game to the next level. Wright posted a respectable 28 points in 54 games with the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) this past season. He is a high-energy player and the combination of energy, size and the ability to play the wing and center could help him land on the Panther roster in the next year or two.
Did the Bolts ruin Wright's chance for a future on a scoring line by keeping him with the big club for 48 games when he was just 19? Probably and that's too bad. He has great skill for a big man but that time in the NHL may have robbed him of his chance to dominate his peers in junior. And his future now is more likely as a checker with speed, size and grit. He'll spend another full season in the AHL and will ease into a lower-line role in Tampa Bay in a couple of years.
Wright surprised everyone last season when he not only broke camp with the Bolts but lasted 48 games with the big club, a distinct rarity for a then 19-year-old. He brings speed, energy and defensive awareness to a squad that will rely on him as a torpedo-like checker. Dominic Moore's signing in Tampa Bay somewhat muddies center ice for the kid so he'll likely have so switch to left wing to earn a job. He might be able to deliver 25 points in limited action on a lower line; there's probably better fantasy value elsewhere.