The Detroit Red Wings have snagged defensemen with their first-round draft pick in two of their last three drafts. Selecting Moritz Seider with the sixth overall selection in 2019, and Simon Edvinsson with the sixth selection in the 2021 Draft. They have even filled their prospect pool with some defensive selections in the second rounds in recent drafts such as Shai Buium (36th overall, 2021), William Wallinder (32nd overall, 2020), and a pair of second-round defenseman in 2019 Antti Tuomisto, (35th, 2019) and Albert Johansson (60th, 2019). Because a top-four caliber defenseman is difficult and expensive to find at the NHL level, don’t rule out the chance that Detroit’s general manager Steve Yzerman will go defense once again with the eighth pick in the 2022 Draft if the right player is there. Here is a look at Kevin Korchinski one of the higher upside defensemen that will likely be available when the Red Wings make their first-round selection this summer.
Born in Saskatoon, SK Korchinski is listed at 6-foot-2, Left Shot Defenseman who weighs 187 pounds.
Lowest Ranking #46 McKeen’s Hockey
Related: Red Wings 2022 Draft Coverage
Played the last two seasons for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL) posting four goals and 61 assists in 67 games during the 2021-22 season. Before that he played two seasons in the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League U18 (SMAAAHL) with the Saskatoon Contacts U18 AAA team — in 2018-19 and 2019-20 — the Canadian blueliner recorded a combined 73 points (17 goals and 56 assists) in 72 games.
Korchinski has an intriguing offensive upside that will likely draw the interest of several NHL scouts. His greatest attribute is his passing and breakout ability out of the defensive zone. He uses a spin back and reset move often while looking to make the better play, not necessarily the simple play. He has been described as possessing superb vision and puck handling along with confidence in those qualities. Give him space and he’ll explore his options and seek to create offense with it. It’s a modern style of play, putting speed and puck-moving over a “traditional” stay-at-home style.
He has strong skating skills with good to elite straight-line speed along with good to great crossovers and good backward skating skills. Korchinski possesses a long stride that allows him to cover distances quickly and seal off gaps quickly. His top speed is considered above average for the WHL level.
The largest area of his game that needs improvement is his decision-making on the ice. His skill set and confidence in his passing and skating ability, are what can lead to poor decisions as he seeks the big pass or plays out of the zone. He can also get caught out of position which can lead to a great scoring opportunity for the opposition. These areas have shown improvement over the course of his recent WHL season, but are considered very much a work in progress. Maturity, coaching, and experience should help correct these errors during his career at the professional level.
His offensive upside has power-play quarterback written all over it similar to the styles of current NHL defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk of Anaheim or Mikhail Sergachev of Tampa Bay. These are the types of players that even with them having deficiencies in their own end, are very valuable in the NHL, especially with the growing importance of the power-play units.
Red Wings Defense Prospects in the System
With Seider making his mark this season in the NHL as a Calder Trophy candidate (seven goals, 43 assists in 82 games) the retooling of the Wings’ defense at the NHL level has begun. Edvinsson will have an opportunity to join the lineup for the 2022-23 season depending on his training camp performance. He has a rare combination of size at 6-foot-5 and a smooth skating ability that should make him a mainstay on the Red Wings’ blue line for years to come.
Other drafted prospects like Buium, Johansson, and Wallinder could be a year or two away from joining the NHL club which is a good problem to have as every club in the league is searching for quality defense depth. Even with these high-caliber prospects coming through the system, the Red Wing’s best available player approach to the draft will allow them to not hesitate to grab more defensemen with their high draft picks during this 2022 Draft.
Korchinski’s Potential Fit in Detroit
Yzerman is very quiet and doesn’t give the media very much information in terms of draft strategies or inside information on what he may do with the eighth selection in this year’s 2022 NHL Draft. However, he does favor prospects with strong Hockey IQs and the ability to play a strong two-way game. Korchinski has the kind of offensive capability that will intrigue many teams. In the right system and coaching his weaknesses can likely be diminished. While Korchinski has been rising in many mock drafts I don’t see him going to the Red Wings with their first-round pick this season.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
“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. Despite his size and skating, he struggles defensively, showing in and out-compete on that side of the puck. He has clear top-four defenseman tools, but whether he can improve his defensive play enough will determine whether he can be a legit top-four guy or have to be deployed carefully by a coach.” Corey Pronman, The Athletic (from: ‘Fourteen Winnipeg Jets options with No. 14 pick in 2022 NHL Draft,’ The Athletic, May 20, 2022).
“He plays with exceptional pace and movement, with his overall skating as a clear standout component of his game. He’s definitely a risk-taker and that can get him into trouble, but he has enough skill where if he can improve on when he takes those risks, this could be a special player.” Josh Bell – SportingNews/FC Hockey
“He displays excellent poise and confidence when he moves the puck. He’s great with his distribution making crisp tape to tape passes including stretching the play forward and making a breakout pass.” Peter Baracchini – The Hockey Writers
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Rob Klein grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan playing pond hockey every winter, and watching Hockey Night in Canada on CBC every Saturday. Being able to finally watch his Red Wings hoist the Stanley Cup in 1997 was his finest NHL moment. As a fan of the NHL for over 40 years he has been able to follow many great teams and appreciate the history of this great game as well as the remarkable talent that is playing today.