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Over the years the Kelowna Rockets have been a veritable factory when it comes to producing NHL defence prospects. The latest model to come down the assembly line is Kaedan Korczak. The Saskatchewan-native was the 11th overall pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. He scored 16 points in 2017-18 as a WHL rookie. This season his numbers improved greatly. He put up four goals and 29 assists for 33 points in 68 games. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough, as the Rockets missed the playoffs. Tied for the final spot, they lost the tie-breaker play-in to the Kamloops Blazers.
Korczak has been a regular member of Team Canada over the years. Last season he played for Team Canada Black at the Under-18 World Hockey Challenge. Korczak put up just one point in five games. He was better at last summer’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, putting up three points in five games and helping the team to a gold medal. Following Kelowna’s elimination in the WHL, he played for Canada at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships, helping the team to a fourth-place finish.
Kaedan Korczak Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Right
Born January 29th, 2001 — Yorkton, Saskatchewan
Height 6’3″ — Weight 192 [191 cm/87 kg]
Korczak is a very good skater. He has a very smooth stride that gives him good speed in both directions. His acceleration allows him to reach that speed quickly. Crisp pivots give him the ability to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. Korczak’s agility and edgework really stand out though. They are outstanding. This gives him the ability to stay with his man and makes him very hard to beat in one-on-one situations. Korczak is strong on his skates. He wins battles in the corners and battles hard in front of the net. He is also strong on the puck.
Korczak has decent stickhandling and combines this with his skating to avoid forecheckers and move the puck in his own zone. He makes a strong first pass as well, moving the puck to the forwards on the breakout and starting the transition game. Poised with the puck on his stick, he makes solid passes in the offensive zone. However, Korczak plays a very safe and simple game. He is not one to make a lot of fancy moves to create passing lanes or set up teammates for scoring chances. Instead, he finds the open man and keeps the puck moving.
Korczak has a very hard slap shot and an excellent one-timer. He could stand to use it more often though. With his excellent agility, he could also work to walk the line more often in order to open up shooting lanes. Korczak’s wrist shot is a work in progress. He needs to add power to his shot as well as get quicker in his release before it will be a real threat.
Korczak’s calling card is his defensive game. His strong skating ability leads to outstanding gap control. He is very difficult to beat in one-on-one defensive situations whether that be on the rush or containing his man on the cycle. Korczak is willing to play physical, separating his man from the puck with a big hit, battling in the corners for loose pucks, and clearing the front of the net. He is also very good positionally and uses his big frame and his long stick to block shots and cut down passing lanes. He must continue to get stronger and add muscle to that frame to play this style at the NHL level.
Projection and Comparison
Korczak projects as a top-four defender who will play against the other team’s best players and kill penalties. He would be a great partner for an offensive-minded number one defenceman on a team’s top pair. A couple of more years in junior adding muscle to his frame and continuing to develop his offensive game would be very good for his development. If he can continue to grow that offensive game, to the point where he can bring some offence at the NHL level, he could be a huge steal for the team that drafts him. Korczak’s game is reminiscent of Josh Manson. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Kaedan Korczak that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect in our NHL Draft series.
Embed from Getty Images
KELOWNA, CANADA – FEBRUARY 8: Kaedan Korczak #6 of the Kelowna Rockets passes the puck against the Prince George Cougars on February 8, 2019 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)