With the Anaheim Ducks getting closer to finishing off a rebuild centered on the core pieces of Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and Mason McTavish. This is the time when the front office can start to add players that make a team championship-quality contenders. General manager Pat Verbeek is at the helm for his first NHL Draft and he should be looking to add to one of the best prospect pools in the entire league and fit around the players that will be calling Anaheim home for the next 10-plus years.
A look at the draft board so far:
1. Shane Wright — Montreal Canadiens
2. Logan Cooley — New Jersey Devils
3. Juraj Slafkovsky — Arizona Coyotes
4. Simon Nemec — Seattle Kraken
5. David Jiricek — Philadelphia Flyers
6. Cutter Gauthier — Columbus Blue Jackets
7. Joakim Kemell — Ottawa Senators
8. Matthew Savoie — Detroit Red Wings
9. Connor Geekie — Buffalo Sabres
With the tenth pick in the 2022 Draft, Anaheim Calling selects defenseman Kevin Korchinski from the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League.
Who is Kevin Korchinski?
The Ducks have done a great job finding talented players in the draft over the recent years and it is starting to pay off as they look to exit their rebuild. After drafting Jamie Drysdale at sixth overall in the 2020 draft and Olen Zellweger in the second round of the 2021 draft, Pat Verbeek may be interested in adding size and more talent to the blue line with this Thunderbirds defender.
Kevin Korchinski is a left-handed mobile defenseman who currently plays with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. The Saskatoon native was the 10th overall pick in the WHL Bantam draft and has so far lived up to his draft billing.
As a 16-year-old in the WHL Bubble season, he put up 10 assists in 23 games. This season, in his first full season, Korchinski lead all WHL rookie defenders with 61 assists to go along with his 4 goals. His 65 points were good for fourth-overall among defenseman and he ranked second in defender assists behind Olen Zellweger.
He’s a general when he’s on the ice. Korchinski will dictate the pace of play and assess every opportunity, choosing the best one. He’ll keep the cycle going and walk the blue line with a Joni Pitkanen level of smoothness.
Why Kevin Korchinski?
He has been compared to Shea Theodore in his style of play and his abilities on the ice. While the Ducks do have great defensive prospects in Zellweger and Drysdale (He is still considered a prospect until his 200th game), adding someone of Korchinski’s size and skill would really help to diversify the Duck’s blueline for years to come. Although Korchinski may not have the same ceiling as some of the other defensive prospects in the same range, he has a higher floor and his game will translate to the NHL.
Drysdale is the focus of attention for opposing NHL teams, making Korchinski either the perfect partner to split that focus, or a second-pairing player with Olen Zellweger that would rival most NHL second-pairing units. He is the right pick for the Ducks at the right time.
Why Not Kevin Korchinski?
If you want to take a swing on a defenseman, going with either Pavel Mintyukov from the Sagninaw Spirits (OHL) or Denton Mateychuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL) have a much higher upside. Korchinski will most likely top out as a second-pairing defenseman, the others have the offensive potential to be first-pairing defensemen and running the power play. Korchinski is a safe pick that won’t get a GM fired, but might not be the best player available.
With the way the draft board shook out, grabbing Brad Lambert, who some scouts believe could be the best player in the draft, might have been the way to go. A potential Zegras, Lambert and McTavish down the middle for the next decade to run amok against the rest of the Pacific Division might be a coach’s dream. There are still a ton of question marks with Lambert, who might have the biggest potential range in the entire draft. The thought of Jonathan Lekkerimaki playing next to Trevor Zegras is very fun as well, but Kevin Korchinski could give the Ducks one of the best defensive units in the entire Pacific.