Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “2021 NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Ryder Korczak Scouting Report.
Originally drafted by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2nd round, 29th overall at the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, Ryder Korczak really broke out after a May 2019 trade that sent him to the Moose Jaw Warriors. He was named an alternate captain with his new team. In the 2019-20 season, he put up 18 goals and 49 assists for 67 points in 62 games. The 2020-21 WHL season was severely shortened due to issues with the COVID Pandemic. Once he got on the ice though, Korczak proved that his breakout campaign was no fluke. He scored three goals and 13 assists for 16 points in 17 games with the Warriors.
His breakout came after a difficult rookie season in Calgary. In 2018-19, Korczak scored just eight goals and seven assists for 15 points in 50 games with the Hitmen. He also had two goals and five points in 11 playoff games.
Korczak comes from a hockey family. His older brother, Kaeden Korczak was drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round, 41st overall of the 2019 NHL Draft. His father, Chad Korczak, played NCAA hockey in the 1990s with Michigan Tech and the University of Chicago-Illinois.
Ryder Korczak Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Right
Born September 23rd, 2002 — Yorkton, Saskatchewan
Height 5’11” — Weight 170 lbs [180 cm / 77 kg]
Korczak is a very good skater. He is a bit undersized, but his skating ability helps him to be an offensive threat. He has a quick first step as well as very good acceleration. With a nice, long stride, Korczak reaches top-speed in just a few strides. He gets around the ice quickly and can take a defender wide and cut to the net. His ability to change speeds also helps him avoid defenders when moving both with and without the puck. Korczak also has very good edgework and agility. He accelerates out of his turns and his ability to change directions can fool defenders. Korczak will need to continue to add muscle to his frame in order to better compete in battles on the boards and in front of the net at the next level.
Korczak marries his skating ability with excellent stickhandling. He can make plays while moving at top speed. This helps him to create offence on the rush. He generates effective zone entries and sets up in the zone, especially on the power play. Korczak is a very good playmaker. He reads the play extremely well, anticipating where teammates and opponents are going. His ability to protect the puck as well as to speed the play up or slow it down helps give his teammates time to get open. When they do, he can make quick lateral moves and change the angle on his stick to create a passing lane and get a teammate the puck. He does a really good job of running the power play from the half boards.
Korczak also has a decent wrist shot and good release. He is able to use his hands to do a quick toe-drag and change the angle of his stick before shooting, fooling goalies. Korczak could stand to add some power to his shot though, as the majority of his goals come from inside the “home-plate” area. Korczak could score more goals if he shot more. There are times when he has a good scoring opportunity but defers to passing. He is not afraid to take the puck to dirty areas of the ice though and will make plays in traffic.
Korczak is a hard worker. He is willing to support the defence down low, working to control the cycle game. However, his lack of size and strength can be an issue here. Korczak can be overpowered by bigger, stronger forwards working off the boards. His high-end hockey IQ is also an asset defensively. He reads the play well and uses good positioning and an active stick to cut down passing lanes. When turnovers are created, he is able to move the puck up the ice quickly in transition. Korczak could use some work in the face-off circle. This may come as he matures and gets stronger, leading to him winning more scrambled draws.
Projection and Comparison
Korczak has the potential to develop into a two-way centre who can play in the middle-six for an NHL team, contributing in all situations, if he is able to reach his potential. He will need time though. As a late birthday, he should head back to the WHL next year but can play in the AHL in 2022-23. With work on his strength and his shooting ability, he could really blossom. Korczak’s game is reminiscent of Brayden Point. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Ryder Korczak that are available on youtube and twitter.
Ryder Korczak – @MJWARRIORS
A prime example of the his strength. Awareness in transition. High-level puck control. Deceptive passing. He has the ability to anticipate passing lanes and facilitate with creativity and poise. #2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/C2DnUFWwo7
— Puck Preps Western Canada (@PuckPrepsWestCa) June 5, 2021
— AccessNow Sports (@AccessNowSports) March 17, 2021
HTV: “It’s awesome to get that first goal. Once you get the first goal under your wing you grow a lot of confidence."
Ryder Korczak on scoring his first career WHL goal and more pic.twitter.com/LL5S4qRAe4
— Calgary Hitmen (@WHLHitmen) October 27, 2018
— Jeff D'Andrea (@Jeff_paNOW) March 2, 2020
WATCH 🎥 pic.twitter.com/SDRaZI1gLf
— The WHL (@TheWHL) October 27, 2020
— Jeff D'Andrea (@Jeff_paNOW) October 13, 2019
Come back tomorrow for our latest NHL Draft article.
Ryder Korczak Scouting Report Main Photo:
CALGARY, AB – DECEMBER 2: Ryder Korczak #14 of the Calgary Hitmen checks Kaeden Taphorn #22 of the Moose Jaw Warriors during a WHL game at the Scotiabank Saddledome on December 2, 2018, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)