2006-07: James Wright saw limited ice time as a WHL rookie (he played in two games in 2005-06) with the Vancouver Giants. He scored 5 goals with 7 assists and was +10 with 31 assists in 48 games for the B.C. Division regular season champs. Wright scored 3 goals with 1 assist and was +3 in 14 playoff games as the Giants reached the WHL Finals before falling to Medicine Hat in an epic seven-game series. Wright scored two goals in Vancouver's five-game run to the Memorial Cup championship – both in an 8-1 win over OHL Champion Plymouth.
2007-08: Wright had a difficult time in his second season with the Vancouver Giants (WHL) – due both to health issues and a deep Vancouver lineup. While he failed to meet the high expectations placed on him heading into his draft season, Wright notched 13 goals and 23 assists and was +4 with 21 PIM in 60 games. A case of mononucleosis slowed him in the middle of the season and he suffered an injury during the WHL playoffs, appearing in just six games and scoring 1 power play goal with 2 PIM. Wright was -3 for the playoffs. Wright was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the fourth round (117th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft.
2008-09: Wright, after attending Lightning training camp, returned to Vancouver for his third WHL season. He got off to a great start as Vancouver once again dominated the B.C. Division and lost just 10 games in regulation during the season. Wright scored 21 goals with 26 assists and was +26 with 54 PIM in 71 games. In the playoffs, Wright scored 3 goals with 7 assists with 13 PIM and an even plus/minus in 17 games as the Giants defeated Prince George and Spokane in the opening round before falling to Kelowna in six games in the Western Conference finals.
2009-10: Wright made Tampa Bay's opening night roster after a strong training camp playing alongside veteran Jeff Halpern and spent half the season with the Lightning before being returned to juniors in January. Wright scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was -9 with 18 PIM. He averaged just over 11 minutes of ice time per game in 48 games with Tampa Bay. Back in juniors, he scored 6 goals with 13 assists and was -4 with 17 PIM in 21 games for the Giants. In the WHL playoffs, Wright scored 7 goals with 9 assists and was +1 with 4 PIM in 16 games as the Giants once again reached the Western Conference finals – falling to Tri-City Americans in six games.
2010-11: Wright appeared in one November game for the Lightning and spent the season with AHL affiliate Norfolk. Wright was -2 in just over four minutes of ice-time in his only NHL game after skating in 48 games with Tampa Bay as a 19-year-old the previous season. Wright was one of two Norfolk players to play all 80 games for the Admirals and scored 16 goals with 31 assists with a -6 plus/minus and 64 PMs. The Admirals reached the playoffs after finishing fourth in the East division and in six playoff games Wright had 1 goal and was -3 with 8 PMs.
2011-12: Wright spent his second pro season in the AHL – beginning the year with Tampa Bay affiliate Norfolk and then finishing the year with San Antonio after being acquired by the Panthers as part of a four-player trade in December 2011. After seeing limited time for Norfolk (five points in 22 games), Wright was one of the top offensive players for the Rampage. He scored 11 goals with 17 assists in 54 games and was minus-one with 23 penalty minutes. San Antonio finished third in the West Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Wright scored 3 goals with 4 assists and was minus-five with 2 penalty minutes in 10 playoff games.
Wright is a prototypical gritty, two-way player with a nice blend of skills. Unfortunately, he has not yet been able to translate junior success to the professional game on a consistent basis.
Wright looks as though he may finally be recovering after his early and unsuccessful stint in the NHL as an 18-year-old rookie with Tampa Bay. He will continue to pursue his career in the AHL with the Rampage as he tries to work his way back into the big leagues, but there is little reason to think that will happen in 2012-13.
Wright was claimed off of waivers by the Winnipeg Jets following the end of the NHL lockout.