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21 Days of 2021 NHL Draft Prospects: #12 — Ryder Korczak

Can he do it again next season?

Robert Murray/WHL
Ryder Korczak Fast Stats 2019-20
Lauren Kelly

Originally a second round draft pick of the Calgary Hitmen, Ryder Korczak’s late-2002 birthday (the same as mine, heh) pushes his NHL draft eligibility to 2021. The younger brother of recent 2019 Vegas draft pick Kaedan, Korczak registered just 15 points in 50 games in his WHL rookie season and was one of the key pieces dealt in the blockbuster trade that saw Calgary acquire defenseman Jett Woo last May.

His rookie production was underwhelming, for sure. But Korczak exploded offensively with his new team in Moose Jaw, was given the ‘A’ mid-season, and finished the year as the team’s leading scorer. Korczak’s 67 points in 62 games (the majority of which were assists) led the pretty awful Warriors by an incredible margin. He was the only Warriors player to surpass the 40-point mark this season. Though he only scored 18 goals, five of Korczak’s tallies were on the powerplay, and three were game-winners.

How much of Korczak’s production was as a result of playing with 2019 NHL first-rounder Brayden Tracey this season? Well, Tracey was injured at the beginning of the season and remained in Anaheim (where he was drafted) and didn’t rejoin the Warriors until October 11th. In the six regular season games that Moose Jaw played before Tracey’s return, Korczak registered two goals and eight assists, including points in the first five games of the season.

When Tracey re-entered the Warriors lineup, he and Korczak displayed remarkable chemistry from the get-go. Korczak racked up eleven goals and 42 points in the two-and-a-half months they played together. After Tracey was dealt at the 2020 WHL Trade Deadline, Korczak still managed to maintain putting up offense without him, adding seven goals and 25 points in 26 games before the season was eventually cut short.

On the rare occasion that Moose Jaw was creating in the offensive zone, it was usually Korczak in the middle of it — especially after Tracey was traded. A great skater, Korczak uses his skating to power him past defenders and into the offensive zone. He protects the puck well on the rush and the cycle. But as a 17-year old playing with older and more experienced players, Korczak was usually finding others with passes instead of getting pucks off himself.

Korczak was the team’s undisputed number one center this season, and he didn’t shy away from the role. He was a little under 50% in the faceoff circle (49.5%), but used his body and stick to fight for scrambled draws and would pounce on loose pucks even after losing faceoffs. Korczak will need to add to his 159-lb frame in order to become more effective in the dot and in board battles for pucks.

Though a prolific playmaker with excellent hands and puck control, Korczak also boasts a lethal shot that definitely wasn’t used enough this season. Korczak doesn’t need much time to get the puck off and has fooled multiple goalies with his release and accuracy. The Warriors will need Korczak to drive offense even more next season, and if he’s going to lift his team from out of the basement, he’ll have to start shooting the puck more frequently.

Strengths: Playmaking, Vision, Shot

To Improve: Shooting Consistency, Strength

Quotables

Korczak is a highly skilled player who can skate very well and make plays, and that adds to the intrigue. While his brother Kaedan, a Vegas pick, is a big strong defenseman without a ton of flash, Ryder is smaller with the flashy elements in his game. [The Athletic]

Wearing a letter now - crafty with the puck and makes smart little dishes to good areas - good vision and a good feel for the game - rolls off defenders and protects the puck well - always seems to be around the puck. [ISS Hockey]

Highlights

Statistics from Elite Prospects and the Western Hockey League.