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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Richardson: “We’ll Just Keep Going” With Kevin Korchinski In Chicago

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Throughout the beginning of this NHL season, the focus of the media and fans alike has been on the beginning of Connor Bedard’s career, and rightfully so. But another rookie is now two weeks into his career, and with an arguably bigger storyline – Kevin Korchinski. And after Monday’s practice, head coach Luke Richardson gave an important update that seemed to answer the question on all of our minds.



“It looks like, as long as his progression stays the same, we’ll just keep going [with him here].”

– Luke Richardson

Throughout training camp and the preseason, it seemed as if we were all waiting for the announcement that Kevin Korchinski would be sent back to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL so that he could dominate another year. He was caught in a sticky situation at only 19 years old, as he was too young to be placed in the AHL. But the move never came, and he opened the year with the Blackhawks.

From there, the next question was whether Korchinski would be around for the ten games required to burn the first year of his entry-level contract. On one hand, it would be nice to push a potential extension back another year, especially with the influx of talent this season like Bedard. On the other hand, though, it was clear Korchinski didn’t have much to gain from going back to the WHL and playing well above his weight class.

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The seventh-overall pick in 2022 has tallied two assists in his six games so far and ranks second on the team’s defense with 19:28 in ice time per game. Though he started on the second line with Connor Murphy, he was recently moved to the top line to skate alongside Seth Jones.

The Blackhawks play their tenth game on November 4th, which now appears to be the game where Korchinski will officially burn his first contract year. He’s been closely watched throughout the beginning of the season in hopes that he would “force the hand” of his coaching staff. Richardson mentioned once again Monday that he’s proved he belongs:

“He really likes to take in information, and he’s open and receptive to it and puts it into his game. To me, that’s a sign of a good pro.”

– Luke Richardson

Based on what we’ve seen from Korchinski through just a few games, the decision is certainly a prudent one. While the 19-year-old will continue to have his share of struggles defensively, he’s a clear asset to this team as they work their way back into contention. It’s also a big benefit to his development, as he’ll be “thrown into the fire” and learn to be a pro at a younger age.

Here to Stay?

The decision hasn’t been made as to whether Korchinski will remain in Chicago for the entire year. He might play for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship again this winter – he and Bedard received their rings from last year’s run on their trip to Toronto. But for at least the foreseeable future, we’ll see a lot more of the young star in Chicago.

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