Connect with us

Blackhawks Prospects

Sam Rinzel, Kevin Korchinski Could Be Blueline Behemoths for the Blackhawks



Kevin Korchinski stood out to the coaching staff right away. It wasn’t the multitude of playoff games the Blackhawks prospect played. Nor had he put on a couple inches or two. Rockford IceHogs coach Anders Sorensen pointed it out quite succinctly.

“He looks thicker,”  Sorensen said. “Starting to look like a man.”

Definitely been in the gym, definitely been putting on a bit of weight,” Korchinski said. “Not too much where I feel slow. It’s a big goal for me to put some more weight on this summer,.”

Korchinski in fact put more on his frame, adding seven pounds to his listed weight from last season. But he’s not the only 2022 first-round pick hitting the gym.

25th overall pick Sam Rinzel has been hitting the gym, too. He’s already 6’4 but a major goal for Chicago Blackhawks prospect Sam Rinzel is putting some more on his frame. Since his draft day listing of 181 pounds, Rinzel listed his weight at a high end of 187.

“I think, especially this summer is big for me going to Minnesota and put that weight on to make the transition to college hockey easier,” Rinzel said.  “But I like my progression so far and my goal is to be that 195 next year and obviously still be fast and lean, but I think I’m on the right track for sure.”

But the bigger they get, the more formidable they’ll appear when they’re patrolling the Blackhawks blueline.

Rinzel Heading to Minnesota

Both taken in the first round of the 2022 draft, they could be a complement at some point in Chicago. Rinzel, the right hand shot, a valuable option on the blue. Korchinski on the left, a bit further along the path than Rinzel. But both have attributes that could cement Chicago’s future on the blue line for a decade.

A little Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook vibe if you will. But there’s certainly a lot to still determine, not only one where they could potentially be or how they’ll get there in the first place.

Rinzel is headed to Minnesota, rooming with 2023 19th overall pick Oliver Moore. The latter could very well shoot down the pipeline quickly. What about the former?

An offensive minded defenseman, Rinzel admitted that he wants to get better defending in his own end. What specifically?

“My defensive awareness,” Rinzel started.  “What I need to do for position wise, kind of picking my spots, when to jump in offensively, mature my game a little bit. Yeah, just learning to still be my dynamic self but obviously learn to not be a super risky player but still make plays.”

The key is not losing the offensive instincts, something that can be honed by a top notch coaching staff at Minnesota while playing in a competitive Big 10 conference. The Golden Gophers were runners up in the NCAA Title game so with a team that potentially includes Logan Cooley returning for his sophomore season, there’s a lot of promise for a return.

Regardless, Rinzel’s education will extend beyond the classroom as he’ll have a great chance to hone his game in hopes of getting to Chicago.

Korchinski Will Have the Fall To See if He Belongs With the Blackhawks

With Korchinski still only 19, he’ll either report back to Seattle or play a full season in Chicago. Per the CHL/NHL agerement, Rockford isn’t an option for Korchinski. His contract can slide if he plays less than nine games a the pro level, but going back to play juniors again might not be reasonable, either.

Davidson isn’t in any rush, or willing to put any pressure on the 2022 seventh overall pick. But he’ll be watching to see what will be the best option for him.

“We’re not making any decisions on him at this point,” Davidson said.  “Hopefully he forces our hand and has a great training camp, but we’ll leave that up to him and then we’ll decide what’s best for his development moving forward. But it is a tough one for some of those players that are ineligible for American Hockey League play, so we’ll kind of see where he ends up in September and go from there.”

There is a strong chance Korchinski gets a trial run in Chicago following the preseason. The Blackhawks will do their due diligence and give the 19-year-old a chance if it’s earned and is right. But if it is, Davidson holds no qualms of burning that first year of his contract, even if it means more than nine games and then sending him back.

“Everything is on the table for sure,” Davidson said. “Again, I think I discussed it back with Lukas Reichel, when we burned his contract. We’re just going to do what the best development path dictates. If that’s playing five games, if that’s playing 25, 30, more, whatever, we’re just going to make those decisions along the way. As much as I want to be patient with players, it’s patience at the right times. And it’s just knowing what they can handle.”

But before timelines can be determined, it goes back to where it started–both of the blue liners bulking up. The behemoths would bolster both ends of the ice for the Blackhawks.