Exceptions to the Rule: John Tavares and Shane Wright

Tony Ferrari


Photo Courtesy of the CHL


‘Exceptional Status’ in the CHL has been given out just six times since it first became a reality in 2005. The Western Hockey League has never granted the exemption and the QMJHL has only done so once with Joe Veleno. The Ontario Hockey League has granted the exemption to four players – John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid and Sean Day – prior to this season.  This past season, Shane Wright was granted ‘Exceptional Status’ in the OHL and despite a mixed bag recently among the players who have been given the exemption, Wright did not disappoint. Prior to the season being but short, he was on pace for 73 points, coming within just a few points of Tavares record for players granted the status.


Exceptional Status History


Let’s start with a brief history of how each case turned out and then we will take a deeper look at how the first recipient of the exemption, Tavares, and the latest, Wright, compare to each other. The second player granted the ‘Exceptional Status’ was Aaron Ekblad. The stout defender was drafted first overall in the OHL and then again in the NHL. He has proven to be one of the best defenders in the NHL to this day, excelling at preventing zone entries and defending the blueline better than just about anyone in the NHL. He didn’t turn into an offensive superstar that some had predicted but he did turn into an ‘Exceptional Player’ at the OHL level and he is a very underrated blu