Picking 19th overall opens up a lot of possibilities. It’s a prime position to get risers or fallers, and it’s far enough into the first round where a team can gamble. Another solid left shot defender is likely to be available at this spot, and his postseason play has brought more eyes on him.
Date of Birth: June 21, 2004
Weight: 185 lbs
Korchinski spent the season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He had 65 points (4 G, 61 A) in 67 games.
Despite playing in 24 games between the previous two seasons, Seattle’s 10th overall pick from the 2019 Bantam Draft still qualified as a rookie this season. His scoring prowess was on full display, as he led all rookie defenders in WHL scoring and was fifth overall among all rookies in the league. The 61 assists led all rookies, and he was fifth overall on team scoring in the regular season. As a whole, Korchinski’s offensive output was quite impressive.
The 6-foot-2 blueliner continued displaying his offensive acumen in the postseason, as he led all defenseman with 19 points (6 G, 13 A). Seattle fell a bit short in the end, as they lost in the final in six games.
Despite the experience the Saskatoon-born player has had in his limited time in the WHL, he’s a rare top prospect who has yet to play in any international competition.
Rankings by Independent Scouting Services
Ranked No 7 by Elite Prospects. “Make no mistake: You’re throwing caution to the wind a bit with a Korchinski selection in the top half of the first round. There’s a very real chance that his inability to defend coupled with a below-average skating stride conspire to spoil an otherwise promising career.
Even so, you can’t let a player with this upside last much longer than that in this year’s draft. Korchinski is one of only a handful of players with power play quarterback, 40-plus points upside from the blue line, and that makes him well worth the risk. Safe is death, right?”
Ranked No. 16 by Corey Pronman.“Korchinski has a clear NHL toolkit. He’s a 6-foot-2 defenseman who can skate and has offensive abilities. He’s able to carry pucks up ice well with his skating, and has excellent edgework to evade pressure. Korchinski shows touch and vision with the puck to run a power play and create off the blue line due to his skill and feet. Despite his size and skating, he’s mediocre defensively. He doesn’t compete that hard on that side of the ice and is overly aggressive offensively. That’s a concern, but he generates so much offense that it makes up for those issues to an extent. Korchinski projects as a top-four defenseman.”
Ranked No. 15 by DobberProspects. “Where Korchinski excels the most is on the powerplay and in the offensive zone. He’s able to activate as a fourth forward, carry the puck using his elite edges, open hips, and long reach to protect and then use his vision to find the best available play. Too many times though in the WHL postseason, Korchinski forced a bad pass or tried to do too much, leading to turnovers and goals against. However, this experimentation will continue and his game will grow by learning from his mistakes.”
See For Yourself
Here is a collection of shifts over three games with Korchinski.
A mixture of observations and scouting reports circles two main themes: skill and engagement. Korchinski is more talented offensively than defensively, and he leverages a wide array of tools to break out of the zone or quarterback an assault against the opposition. The lanky defenseman’s assist totals aren’t a fluke – he can really move the puck that well.
That said, Korchinski displays a common trait among prospects: inconsistency. Most notably, there’s an inconsistency with his energy level or effort at different aspects in his game. This is good news on a few fronts. The inconsistency isn’t situational – for example, he doesn’t rush to try to score a point and slack when the attack comes the other way. There are varying levels of engagement in all aspects. Assuming a maturity to the game and to the person, this means he’ll be a solid contributor from the blueline eventually; just not now.
There are valid concerns questioning his defensive ability. There are times he’s with the puck carrier, yet he doesn’t neutralize him effectively. This isn’t from lack of physical engagement or situational awareness; it’s more from a lack of experience and instinct. Los Angeles has done great work setting up defenders so they are ready to play at the NHL level. Having a bit of clay to mold isn’t a bad thing, especially since defense is very heavily driven by team structures and systems anyway.
Much like with most CHL players, Korchinski would not be eligible for the AHL for two more seasons. It would be prudent to keep him in the WHL for at least another year, considering they were two wins from winning the league championship and very few of their players will be too old to compete again next year. His expected responsibility will only grow, and the expectation to challenge again next year is a tremendous development opportunity.
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