Ryder Korczak has a little bit better of an idea of what to expect come draft day.
The brother of Kelowna Rockets defenceman Kaedan Korczak, the younger sibling got an up-close look two years ago when the Vegas Golden Knights called the name of the budding blue-liner in the second round of the 2019 NHL Draft.
Now, it’s Ryder’s turn. Among 113 CHL talents – and five ‘A’ rated WHLers – to be recognized as Players to Watch by NHL Central Scouting ahead of the upcoming NHL Draft, the gifted centre had a breakout season last year in Moose Jaw following a modest rookie campaign.
Wrapping up 2019-20 with a team-leading 67 points counting 18 goals and 49 assists through 62 appearances, Korczak undoubtedly drew the eye of talented evaluators as he flashed the remarkable skill set that makes him one of the most intriguing options of his draft class.
Korczak reflected on his successful sophomore season, the impact his brother has had on his hockey career, and more in the latest edition of the CHL Sunday Spotlight presented by WINMAR:
What do you attribute to your 52-point improvement last season?
I am sure some of you know I was traded from the Calgary Hitmen to the Moose Jaw Warriors. I was a bit nervous moving to a new city but the Warriors organization, the coaching staff, and my teammates are unbelievable. They welcomed me with open arms. It felt like another family. The coaching staff gave me some opportunity and I took that and I ran with it. That led to my confidence, and confidence is a big factor of my game. It makes me a better player and, most importantly, it makes me a better person.
How are you continuing to build your game while away from the rink?
To start off, I am back at home in Yorkton, Sask. I am working out here. I am usually in Calgary working out with the Crash Conditioning crew, but unfortunately during these uncertain times I cannot be there. Away from the rink and away from the gym, I am just continuing to be a good guy. I am staying humble, I am staying kind, and staying positive because I feel that you can have all of the potential and skill in the world, but if you aren’t a good guy then there are not going to be many teams that want you.
How has your brother been influential on your hockey career?
Kaeden is going to like this one because I am pumping up his tires, but honestly, he is awesome. I have nothing but respect for him. He set the standard high in going to the NHL Combine, the NHL Draft, and the World Juniors. It’s tough to beat but I push myself every day to try to get there and try to get to what he has been through. Every day I want to be just like him or even better.
What is it like to be recognized as one of the top ranked WHL players ahead of the NHL Draft?
The recognition is awesome, but the WHL is a tough league to play in. There are gritty teams, skill teams, and there are unbelievable players in the WHL. To be recognized as one of the top prospects is definitely an honour. But the work is just starting now. I feel that I have so much more to display this coming season and I cannot wait to share it with you guys.
Which NHL player do you model your game after and why?
There is definitely a few that I consider but there is one who is stuck in my head and that is Brayden Point, a former Moose Jaw Warrior. There are certain aspects of his game that I take into my game that I see myself doing. For example, his skating is so agile and smooth. It is unreal to watch. His vision and his patience are also unbelievable. If there is an opportunity there for him to put the puck in the net, then he does that as well.