Blackhawks' Kevin Korchinski shows flashes in preseason debut

Kevin Korchinski shows flashes in Hawks' preseason debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks got their first glimpse of No. 7 overall pick Kevin Korchinski in Tuesday's 4-1 preseason loss to the St. Louis Blues and he didn't look out of place.

The Blackhawks weren't shy about giving him some larger responsibility out of the gates, either. Korchinski skated on the second pairing with Connor Murphy and finished with 19:02 of ice time, which ranked third among team defensemen and fifth on the team overall.

"Great," head coach Luke Richardson said when asked what he thought of Korchinski's debut. "I thought his skating ability was great, and really no trouble in most of the D-zone coverages. Offensive and moving the puck, he really does that well and he had a great chance in the second period going 200 feet and redirecting a pass but didn't get in. But I think he played with some composure with the puck, made some nice passes. And that's his game."

[MORE: 10 observations: Blackhawks fall to Blues in preseason opener]

One of Korchinski's best shifts came in the first period when he jumped on a loose puck in the neutral zone to assist his defenseman partner Murphy, quickly got the puck out of his own end, and then went the other way to join the play and finished it off with a shot on goal. His instincts and elite skating ability were on full display during that sequence:

As Richardson mentioned above, Korchinski also showed he wasn't afraid to jump up on some plays, even from his own end, and he did so in the second period and nearly scored on a Grade-A scoring chance. Patrick Kane fed him an incredible pass through two defenders at the doorstep, but Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington denied Korchinski of his first unofficial NHL goal:

"I guess it'll take a bit of time to figure out an NHL goalie," Korchinski laughed. "It's not junior. But no, it was a beautiful feed and I tried to finish there but I couldn't."

Overall, it was a successful first preseason game for Korchinski. He's absorbing as much as he can from the veterans at training camp and hopes to apply some of the things he's learning here when he returns to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL.

"Each day I'm getting more and more comfortable with the guys, the pace, the coaching staff, all of it," Korchinski. "I'm just trying to build day by day and win the day."

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