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 2022 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 “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Kevin Korchinski Scouting Report.
Drafted in the first round, 10th overall in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft by the Seattle Thunderbirds, Kevin Korchinski has become one of the best offensive defencemen in the WHL. Due to Covid, Korchinski was still considered a rookie this season when he led all WHL rookies in assists. He put up four goals and 61 assists for 65 points in 67 regular-season games for Seattle. He also added four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 14 WHL playoff games so far. Korchinski has helped Seattle the Western Conference Championship against the Kamloops Blazers. He also played for Team Red at the 2022 CHL Top Prospects Game.
Korchinski was limited to just 23 WHL games in 2020-21. He put up 10 assists for the Thunderbirds, showing flashes of the offence he would bring during his draft season. Korchinski also spent some time with his hometown Saskatoon Contacts in Tier II Bantam Hockey. He scored one goal in four games before the SMAAAHL season was shut down due to the pandemic. Korchinski made his WHL debut in the 2019-20 season, playing one game for Seattle.
Kevin Korchinski Scouting Report
Left Defence — shoots Left
Born June 21st, 2004 — Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Height 6’2″ — Weight 185 lbs [188 cm / 84 kg]
Korchinski is a dynamic player and his ability to push the offence is based on his outstanding skating ability. He is very fast in both directions and has excellent acceleration. Korchinski can push the pace or pinch in the offensive zone and still get back to his own end of the ice. He also has excellent edgework and agility. Korchinski can weave through traffic. His lateral movement allows him to walk the line and open up passing and shooting lanes. It also helps him to keep his man in front of him when defending. His pivots are crisp and clean. He transitions quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa.
Korchinski’s powerful stride helps him to fight through checks. He needs to be stronger though. This will help him to win battles in front of the net and along the boards. He is a bit thin right now and this makes him vulnerable to stronger opponents. However, he has plenty of room to add muscle to his frame and this should come as he matures.
Korchinski is a dynamic playmaker who loves to push the pace. He marries his strong skating with excellent puck handling skills. This allows him to make plays while moving at top speed. Korchinski can skate the puck out of his zone. He can also lead the rush and generate efficient zone entries. Once in the offensive end, he is cool and poised with the puck. His lateral mobility and quick hands help him to open up shooting and passing lanes. Korchinski has excellent vision. He finds the open man and can make a tape-to-tape pass to set up a scoring chance. He is outstanding when there is a little extra time and space, such as quarterbacking the power play.
Korchinski needs some work on his shot though. While he does a good job of getting his shot through traffic, he could stand to keep it lower to generate more tip-in and rebound chances for forwards. As it stands, his slap shot lacks power. This may come as he continues to add muscle to his frame. While it can improve, it’s unlikely to be a real weapon for him. He prefers to use his wrist shot. Korchinski will sneak down to the top of the faceoff circles before letting it go. This helps him to be a bit more dangerous. However, if he can add power on his wrister, that would make him an even better weapon on the offence.
Korchinski needs a bit of work in the defensive end. This is not that unusual though, given that this was his first full season playing against top competition. It must be remembered that coming up through minor hockey, Korchinski was likely by far the best player on the ice and often had the puck. He wouldn’t have been challenged by other high-end players the way he is challenged in the WHL.
Korchinski’s skating allows him to maintain good gap control and force attackers to the outside. However, he needs to play a bit more aggressive and physical, forcing his man to the boards and keeping him there. He also needs to develop better instincts away from the puck, cutting down passing lanes and clearing the front of the net. There are times he looks lost positionally in his own end as well. Solid coaching will help him to improve in these areas.
Projection and Comparison
Korchinski has the offensive tools to quarterback the powerplay and be an offensive weapon in the NHL. However, he will need to get stronger in order to improve his shot and his physical game. He also needs to work on his defensive game. He is a bit of a project pick but one with a very high upside. While defensive skills can be taught, he has size, skating ability, and the offensive ability to develop into a difference-maker at the NHL level. The team who drafts him will need to be patient though. With a July birthdate, Korchinski is one of the younger players in the draft. He could use two more years in the WHL as well as some AHL time before he is ready to make an NHL impact. Korchinski’s game is reminiscent of Erik Karlsson. This is a stylistic comparison only though, not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Kevin Korchinski that are available on youtube and Twitter.
The mobility and creativity that Kevin Korchinski brings to the table is so much fun to watch. Always on his toes and right after the initial pass, he skates into the offensive zone, goes forehand to backhand to forehand to protect the puck and then attempts a pass to the slot. pic.twitter.com/KiNggu6VIG
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) April 4, 2022
— The WHL (@TheWHL) April 27, 2022
— The WHL (@TheWHL) February 28, 2022
Seattle Thunderbirds defenseman Kevin Korchinski is so damn good at the offensive blueline. So much mobility and confidence, frequently pressure-testing the opposing defenses to see where he can open something up@FCHockey pic.twitter.com/2pDiJGqeLD
— Derek Neumeier (@Derek_N_NHL) April 20, 2022
Just some fun late night Kevin Korchinski content. pic.twitter.com/uFpyHEXYXr
— 🌬Joel Henderson💨 (@dathockeydoe) March 4, 2022
— The WHL (@TheWHL) April 27, 2022
— Matthew Somma (@Mattsomma12) March 12, 2022
Check back tomorrow for our latest 2022 NHL Draft Article.
Kevin Korchinski Scouting Report Main Photo:
KENT, WASHINGTON – MARCH 31: Seattle Thunderbirds defenseman Kevin Korchinski #14 skates back to retrieve the puck during the third period of a game between the Everett Silvertips and the Seattle Thunderbirds at the accesso ShoWare Center on March 31, 2021 in Kent, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)