Photo Credit: Robert Murray / WHL
Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler
Ryder Korczak is a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
He is the son of Chad Korczak and Tricia Korczak. Chad is the general manager of the Yorkton Maulers U18 AAA team and played collegiate hockey in the United States for the University of Illinois-Chicago and Michigan Technological University.
His brother Kaedan Korczak played in the WHL for the Kelowna Rockets and was drafted in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Vegas Golden Knights.
Ryder and Kaedan both played U18 hockey for the Yorkton Maulers U18 AAA squad before making their WHL debuts. Ryder was initially drafted by the Calgary Hitmen at 29th overall in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft. He played one full season with Calgary before being traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors in a trade for Jett Woo (Vancouver Canucks prospect).
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Ryder didn’t get to play a full season for the Moose Jaw Warriors this season. But, he played in 17 games and recorded 16 points (three goals and 13 assists). The bulk of his primary assists came on the powerplay.
Korczak is one of a few draft eligible prospects on the Moose Jaw Warriors. Eric Alarie, Cole Jordan and Max Wanner are also 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospects. They also have a couple notable 2022 and 2023 NHL Draft eligible prospects in Brayden Yager (2023) and Denton Mateychuk (2022).
D.O.B – September 23, 2002
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Weight –159 lbs
Position – Center
Handedness – Right
Korczak’s Style Of Play
This past season, Korczak’s points on the power-play increased when you compare them to his 2019-2020 power-play points. In his 2019-2020 season, 18 of his 49 total assists came on the power-play. In addition, Korczak netted five power-plays goal that season. When you add up all of his power-play points from 2019-2020, you see that 34% of his total points came on the power-play. In 2020-2021, 43% of his total points came on the power-play. It’s also worth noting that the majority of his primary assists from this past season came when up a man.
While I’m bringing up production, keep in mind that Korczak played far fewer games this season than the previous one due to COVID-19. Some players take longer to heat up and produce. Some players are quick starters. So, it’s hard to tell what type of production Korczak would have posted in a full season.
In general, Korczak is a perimeter passer. What that means is that he attempts a lot more passes from the perimeter than down low and/or in the slot. But, while he will cross the perimeter at times to complete a pass, keep in mind that sometimes he doesn’t go that far in to attempt a pass. Throughout the 2020-2021 season, I noticed that Korczak recorded multiple primary assists when he skated slightly past the perimeter. In Korczak’s 2019-2020 campaign, in which he played nearly a full season, five of his 26 primary assists came from the perimeter. But, it’s clear that there was a massive uptick in perimeter pass attempts this past season.
Let’s stay on passing in the offensive zone for a bit longer. Korczak will work the cycle and determine the best spot for him to skate in order to identify a passing lane. He will scour high and medium danger, find a gap and might utilize behind the back passing to be sly. When he’s working the cycle, he will wrap the net to seek out any gaps at net front to exploit. Korczak has proven that he can thread the needle through tight lanes with a cross ice pass with ease.
His goal scoring numbers were down this year and that was going to happen due to the amount of games played, but his goals per game numbers were down too. In 2019-2020, he had a 0.29 goals per game. This past season, he averaged 0.18 goals per game. His three goals this past season were a mixed bag. He scored a snap shot goal from the perimeter on the power-play, a deflection goal off of a shot from Mateychuk and a goal at net-front after gaining possession of the puck from a successful forecheck. Ultimately, Korczak’s shooting style isn’t likely to generate a plethora of goals. He gets his shot on net, but doesn’t generate the height with his stick blade and needs to open up his blade a bit more. Korczak also will struggle with shot placement. A decent amount of his shots are aimed at the opposing goaltender’s chest.
When driving to the net, you will see Korczak struggle especially against more physical daunting defensemen like New York Rangers prospect Braden Schneider. He will struggle to work around them and the gap cancels out rather quickly. Korczak needs to grow and develop his upper body strength in order to push off defenders to open up space for himself.
On the forecheck, Korczak typically supervises/provides support and insurance when his teammates are in the trenches. This allows Korczak to provide his teammates with an open man should they win the puck battle.
When Korczak does get more involved in puck battles, he will look to be physical but will struggle with causing hits with impact. His checks don’t follow through and won’t lead to many turnovers. Korczak’s physicality reminds me of the same challenges that SKA St. Petersburg forward Nikita Chibrikov has.
Korczak utilizes good outside edges to shift around defenders in transition and when in the offensive zone. While he does have strong outside edges, his inside edges need further development. He will face challenges with inside edge stability.
He will utilize a lot of crossovers in transition for acceleration. In addition, he will use multiple one skate short extensions in repetition to keep his feet moving. It’s similar to what Colorado Avalanche prospect Colby Ambrosio does to garner acceleration. Ultimately, Korczak will lean on crossovers as he doesn’t have a lengthy power stride. But, there are instances where you will see Korczak widen his skate extensions.
His ankle flexion is solid when he does so, but in normal stride, Korczak’s ankle flexion needs slightly further development. His knees won’t always line up with the toe of his skates.
From a stick-handling perspective, Korczak can complete windmill stick-handling through the legs. Korczak displays quality puck-handling and will carry the puck along the middle of his stick blade.
But, there are times where he will cough up the puck and displays some puck security issues. This has to do with Korczak’s reachability and upper body strength. When Korczak acquires the necessary upper body strength for physicality as we mentioned before, he will more than likely inherit the ability to widen his reach.
When in transition, Korczak will skate along past puck battles at the boards to supervise and provide an outlet. It’s similar to how he plays on the forecheck. As a center, you don’t want him jumping into too many puck battles. You want him driving play and he does that quite well. He completes a lot of controlled zone entries. In most cases, Korczak will gain possession of the puck in the neutral zone off of a pass from a defender. On the power-play, you will see Korczak gain possession of the puck in the neutral zone on a tap pass from a defender. He will use crossovers to gain momentum and acceleration. When instilling the rush from the defensive zone, most of the time, Korczak will opt to complete zone exit passes to get the puck into the neutral zone.
When defending in transition, Korczak will often be behind the rush. This has more to do with skating then defensive awareness. With his stride length being slightly inconsistent, it becomes a challenge for Korczak to gain the necessary acceleration to be in front of the rush.
In the defensive zone, Korczak will join his defenders and put pressure on the puck carrier along the boards, not a lot of pressure but enough to box him in. Korczak looks to implement trap defense in low danger and find an opportunity to strip the puck away with a poke check. Korczak will enter into puck battles along the corners when his teammates lose vision of the puck and skate off to other spots in the defensive zone leaving the puck carrying attacker with a lot of open ice. Instead of hoping that another teammate steps up, Korczak takes ownership and implements pressure on the attacker. Not only will Korczak cover down low, but he will push up to the blue-line to defend the point. In addition, he will position himself in the slot when his defenders are in the slot as well and the attack is working along the half-wall with two attackers in the slot. Korczak will try to keep the attack away from the slot and surprise the attackers in the slot should they get possession of the puck off of a pass. It’s all about eliminating passing lanes.
The only area in the defensive zone that needs further development is his physicality and upper body strength. He will face challenges when obtaining loose pucks and countering a more physically-gifted forward.
Top 9 Center
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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