A couple familiar names for the Chicago Blackhawks cropped up for recognition for an invitation t0 the 2023 Upper Deck/NHLPA Rookie Showcase. It should come as no surprise that Connor Bedard and Kevin Korchinski were the invitees.
Bedard, #1 on CHN’s ranked prospect list and Korchinski (#3) are the pair of representatives as the season draws nearer. The Blackhawks are one of ten teams with a pair of entries, while Columbus and Montreal both notched three.
Both are two of the tent poles in general manager Kyle Davidson’s blueprint for the rebuild.
A Warmup for the Blackhawks Opening Night Lineup?
Bedard is all but guaranteed for a spot on the opening night lineup, barring a terrible preseason slate or injury that could hold him out of the lineup. There is absolutely nothing left for him to prove at the junior level.
Korchinski is a more interesting case. Written in his profile as a ranked prospect, Korchinski is also another player who has absolutely nothing left to prove at the junior level.
So, this applies:
General manager Kyle Davidson has said he’ll go the Lukas Reichel route and burn the first year of Korchinski’s deal–if it’s right for him. But all along since being drafted, he’s reminded me of another young Chicago defenseman who took his lumps as a youngster in the NHL before turning into a franchise defining cornerstone.
That would be Duncan Keith. He may not have the wheels but he has the smarts and the rounded game to develop into that type of player for Chicago. But if you want current comparisons? The ESPN crew likened his smarts to that of one Cale Makar as he made his way to the stage once his named was called.
Doubling down again, the Blackhawks can take their time with him and sit him if need be. Additionally, both Keith and Brent Seabrook made the leap and cut their teeth together–while taking their lumps, too.
The showcase will feature only the best young stars, and can serve as a nice warm up before a preseason convenes with players fighting to make the NHL–as well as the already established.
Before auditioning for the “men’s” league, they can be the big boys in the class of rising young stars.