The Chicago Blackhawks' Kevin Korchinski has had a Long Season

Chicago Blackhawks v New York Islanders
Chicago Blackhawks v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

In somewhat of a surprise, Kyle Davidson of the Chicago Blackhawks selected Kevin Korchinski with the 7th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. At the time there was a perceived "top 6" picks and Chicago, acquiring the pick via Ottawa in a deal for Alex DeBrincat, was just outside of that top tier of the prospect pool.

The top 6 prospects went as expected, though not in the order presumed, and now it was up to the Hawks to make a decision. Frank Nazar, Marco Kasper, Conor Geekie, Jonathan Lekkerimaki, and Matt Savoie were the players that were likely to go next. Instead, Davidson pulled off a mild stunner by taking offensive defenseman Kevin Korchinksi out of Seattle.

Rumors would have it, that Korchinski had moved into position within the top 10 for several teams we would later find out, as well as the Blackhawks would also get Frank Nazar a few picks later at #13 overall. All in all, it appeared that Chicago had gotten 2 players that would be big assets moving forward to begin their rebuild.

Michigan v Notre Dame
Michigan v Notre Dame / Michael Miller/ISI Photos/GettyImages

After playing one final season in the WHL, Korchinski would make the Blackhawks out of camp and has played in 71 games thus far as a teenager playing in the NHL. While managing different pairing partners, a long and arduous NHL schedule for the first time, and personal family matters off the ice Korchinski also did not have a normal amount of time off due to the Thunderbirds (WHL team Seattle) success the prior season. No, Kevin Korchinksi has not had a break and it is clear that one is needed.

While possessing excellent skating prowess and an advanced offensive IQ, it hasn't always shone of late due to what many can see on the ice. There is a fair amount of over thinking, tired legs, and a general knowledge of situational awarness that can only be acquired with experience. As many older Hawks' fans can recall, Duncan Keith really wasn't Duncan Keith those first 2 seasons. Not only that, but Keith also had gone through the riggers of 2 seasons for Michigan St. (also time spent with Kelowna of the WHL). So, while not to compare a future hall of famer to a highly picked defenseman, there has to be a point where you note it is going to take some time.

Kevin Korchinski
Toronto Maple Leafs v Chicago Blackhawks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

While there are now only 5 games remaining, it's important to know that alot of the Kevin Korchinski we've all seen of late (from turnovers leading to shots, miscommunications, and lost races for pucks) is normal in terms of what will be his ultimate maturation. He has to go through these struggles, has to see where he needs to improve, and has to now put in the time off the ice in order to get to where he wants to be on the Blackhawks.

Kevin Korchinski is still a talented offensive defenseman and is projected to be a potential top 4 defender for Chicago... One that hopefully is the Hawks' power play quarterback of the future. Still, for all the reasons laid out above, he is going to need some time to reflect on the long and tiring last year that he has endured. It's our jobs as fans, to allow him this time to develop afterall. A draft eligible with a summer birthday (June for Korchinski) is sometimes 1/2 a season behind those with older dates in comparison. These factors can compound on a young player that has been through what he has been through. Time to give Kevin Korchinski some time off.

Note: Last game of the season is April 18th versus the Kings.