There’s speculation that Chicago Blackhawks prospect Kevin Korchinski could be an opening night addition to the lineup. But in my mind, they should remove the speculation and allow Korchinski to absolutely be in the lineup when the Blackhawks face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 10.
As written previously, Chicago Hockey Now ranks Korchinski as the third best prospect in the Blackhawks system. With Conor Bedard, and Lukas Reichel, one and two respectively, it seems easy as one-two-three to include Korchinski with both of them on the final roster
Much ink has been spilled writing about what Korchinski brings to the Blackhawks. There is nothing left for him to achieve in the Western Hockey League. Korchinski showed more than enough last season with Seattle in both the regular season the WHL playoffs and then the Memorial Cup. Sending him back to Seattle wouldn’t help matters.
CHL-NHL Agreement Makes it Blackhawks or Thunderbirds
Caught in between the CHL, NHL and AHL, Korchinski cannot report to Rockford due to his age. Instead, he would have to return to Seattle, which as stated earlier would not be in the best interest of him or the Blackhawks. The best case scenario, one could actually look at how the Detroit Red Wings handled the situation with 2017 ninth overall pick Michael Rasmussen who was in a similar situation.
It took Rasmussen’s sometime to find his legs in the NHL, and he was sent to Grand Rapids the following season to figure out what was necessary to hold his game at the NHL level. Until an injury last season, Rasmussen was one of the more important role players in Detroit.
Korchinski has a similar circumstance but is certainly a different player. The postseason success he experienced with Colton Dach, and Nolan Allan certainly put in my leg ahead of where Rasmussen was when he debuted with Detroit for a full season.
Beyond the that postseason experience, Korchinski was also a member of the Gold Medal winning Canadian World Juniors team in 2022. The pedigree is there. So is the skill set. All that’s left is a strong preseason showing which can get off to a great start at the 2023 NHL/Upper Deck Rookie Showcase.
Rookie Showcase Can Serve as Momentum for Korchinski
Korchinski has the chance to sharpen his saw against the best rookies and young players in the game. He can then take that momentum and ride it into the Blackhawks preseason. Though he’ll be in a men’s league, there’s no doubt that Korchinski has shown the desire to improve his game with whatever it takes.
Yes, it’s early and it’s fair to say that maybe it’s as certain to place him on the roster until the preseason is played out.
Barring injury or a poor preseason, pencil him into the opening night lineup. Like Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook, it’s time for another young, talented defenseman to get full time status with the Chicago Blackhawks.