CHICAGO — Naturally, there is one rookie on the Blackhawks who is getting the majority of the attention.
But as Connor Bedard has made his much-heralded debut over the last week, so has another high draft pick for the team in the Kyle Davidson era. There are a few in the Blackhawks organization, along with fans, who were eager to see him take the ice, too.
That’s defenseman Kevin Korchinski, who was the seventh overall pick of the 2022 NHL Draft, selected with the pick acquired in the Alex DeBrincat trade with the Senators. After spending last season in the Western Hockey League, he was given the chance to start the season with the NHL club.
The 19-year-old defenseman has played in four games this season, averaging 19:33 minutes of ice time per contest. On Monday against the Maple Leafs, he registered his first NHL point on an assist on Tyler Johnson’s goal in the second period in a 4-1 win in Toronto.
Early in the season, Korchinski has been paired on the Blackhawks’ second defensive line with veteran Connor Murphy, seeing 78:15 minutes of total ice time.
It’s a big step for Korchinski, who spent the last four seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, with heavy playing time the last two seasons. In the 2022-2023 season following his selection by the Blackhawks, he had 11 goals and 62 assists in 54 games in helping the team to the 2023 Memorial Cup Final.
While he continues to develop at the NHL level, with game number five coming against the Avalanche on Thursday evening at 9:30 p.m. Central Time, the team does have a decision to make on Korchinski.
Per the terms of the entry level contract he signed in August 2022, if he plays more than nine games, he would use up the first of the three years on that deal. Should he continue to play every game, he’d reached that limit against the Coyotes on Monday, October 30.
As the team mulls that decision, Korchinski plays on, being the other high-profile rookie for the Blackhawks to start the 2023-2024 season.