Chicago Blackhawks Player Grades: How Was Kevin Korchinski's Rookie Campaign?

Reviewing the young defenseman's first season in Chicago
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Going into the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks were in an odd position.

General manager Kyle Davidson made it abundantly clear that he was embracing a full rebuild after the team finished with a 28-42-12 record. That season record would land the sixth-overall selection in the draft, but there was one problem. The Blackhawks' first-round pick was not in their possession. In the previous summer, the Blackhawks made a blockbuster trade on draft night, sending the 12th and 44th overall picks in 2021, their first-round selection in 2022, and defenseman Adam Boqvist to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Seth Jones and the 32nd pick in the 2021 draft.

The Blackhawks' prospect pool was lacking high-end talent, leading Davidson to trade star winger Alex Debrincat to the Ottawa Senators for the seventh and 39th picks in the 2022 draft along with a third-round pick in 2024. With the Blackhawks back in the top ten, Davidson reached the podium and announced defenseman Kevin Korchinski as the team's first selection in the draft.

Korchinski was a high riser in draft boards throughout the season after posting 65 points in 67 games for the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) and adding 19 points in 25 playoff games. Standing at six-foot-two inches and 185 pounds, Korchinski's size and excellent skating ability made him more and more enticing to NHL teams as a future puck-moving defender.

Following his draft year, Korchinski continued to impress in the WHL with 73 points in 54 games on one of the top junior teams in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). After a stellar 54-11-1-2 record in the regular season, the Thunderbirds went on to win the WHL Championship with Korchinski as their top defender.

This led the Blackhawks to a tough decision in training camp regarding where Korchinski would spend the 2023-24 season. Since he was still only 19-years old, his two options would be to either return to Seattle for another season or play for the Blackhawks. The NHL-CHL transfer agreement does not allow players from Canadian junior hockey to play in the AHL until their are 20-years old. With Korchinski proving too good for juniors, he suited up for the Blackhawks this season.

Here is Kevin Korchinski's grade for his rookie season...