- 2020-21 Team: Moose Jaw Warriors
- Date of Birth: Sept. 23, 2002
- Place of Birth: Yorkton, SK
- Ht: 5-foot-10, Wt: 159 pounds
- Shoots: Right
- Position: C
- NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 34th (amongst NA skaters)
- FC Hockey: 42nd
- McKeen’s Hockey: 26nd
- Recruit Scouting: 52nd
- Dobber Prospects: 30th
- The Hockey Writers (Zator): 39th
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 42nd
- The Hockey Writers (Forbes): 31st
Ryder Korczak is the latest member of his family to pursue a hockey career. His father, Chad, played NCAA hockey for Michigan Tech, though he never played professionally. His older brother, Kaeden, is a defenseman who plays for the Kelowna Rockets and is a Vegas Golden Knights’ prospect. Ryder has played for the Moose Jaw Warriors since 2019, having signed from the Calgary Hitmen. The move back to his home province proved to pay off, with Korczak being named an alternate captain and making himself a crucial team player.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
The Hitmen initially drafted Korczak in the second round of the 2017 WHL Entry Draft. He scored 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 53 games and was traded to the Warriors in exchange for Jett Woo in May 2019. The move to Moose Jaw was convenient for Korczak. He was closer to his family home in Yorkton and was given a leadership role in the team. He repaid his coach’s faith, scoring 67 points (18 goals, 49 assists) in 60 games.
Korczak did not hit the ground running during his rookie season, and he looked for other opportunities with other teams. His playing style completely transformed after he signed for Moose Jaw. The Warriors missed the WHL playoffs, but Korczak quickly became an important first-team player and a fan favourite. He led the team in points and was the only Warrior to surpass the 40-point mark last season. This success was partly because he played alongside centre Brayden Tracey, a first-round draft pick in 2019.
Tracey was traded to the Victoria Royals during the 2019-20 season. This meant that Korczak was placed at the centre position. He embraced this new role, scoring seven goals in 26 games before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season. His independence and high statistics placed him on the NHL scouting radar, and he was considered a first- or second-round pick at the very least. Korczak has plans to push for first-round selection, and the shortened 2020-21 season will be one last chance for him to make that push.
Korczak is known for his positional awareness, vision, and efficient skating. He likes to play in the middle of the ice in order to either protect the puck or to pass it on the wing. Korczak can read his team’s play and make accurate passes, and his 49-assist season can attest to that. He is an accurate shooter who can fool opposition goaltenders, using his hand movement and agility to create scoring chances.
Ryder Korczak will be the second member of his family to be drafted into the NHL. You can, therefore, expect to see both Korczak brothers play against each other in the next three or four seasons.
“Korczak is a highly skilled player who can skate very well and make plays, and that adds to the intrigue. While his brother Kaedan, a Vegas pick, is a big strong defenseman without a ton of flash, Ryder is smaller with the flashy elements in his game.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic
Ryder Korczak – 2021 NHL Draft Projection
Many NHL analysts have debated Korczak’s ranking in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He has been tipped to be a late first-rounder, but he looks just as likely to be taken in the second round.
- Puck protection
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
Korczak needs to improve his physical strength, especially in face-offs. He has been hesitant to shoot on sight, and he must take his chances more if he wants to push for a starting place.
Korczak has enough talent to be a top-six centre and has drawn comparisons to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point. Point played WHL hockey, was drafted in the second round and has played on Tampa’s top line. You can expect to see Korczak pursue an identical career path.