Blackhawks select Kevin Korchinski, Frank Nazar, Sam Rinzel with first-round picks

MONTREAL –As the Blackhawks progress slowly through their rebuild, Kevin Korchinski, Frank Nazar and Sam Rinzel are three names that’ll be mentioned often.

The Hawks chose Korchinski, Nazar and Rinzel with the seventh, 13th and 25th overall picks, respectively, of the 2022 NHL Draft on Thursday. All three picks were acquired from other teams during the course of the night as part of blockbuster trades involving Alex DeBrincat, Kirby Dach and Petr Mrazek.

Korchinski is an offensive defenseman who tallied 65 points in 67 games for the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds last season.

Standing a sturdy 6-2, 185 pounds at age 18, the Saskatchewan native said he models his game after Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore but grew up a Hawks fan because of his dad. However, despite talking to Hawks scouts during the season, he’d never met the team’s front office before being picked.

“I love to join the rush, love to create offense and [love] using my feet, puck skills [and] passing ability,” Torchinski said.

Nazar is an elusive center who tallied 70 points in 56 games for the U.S. National Team Development Program last season after transitioning from a winger the season prior.

On the small side at 5-10, 181 pounds, he perfectly fits the priorities the Hawks seemed to prioritize entering Thursday: fast, strong-skating forwards with scoring touches.

“I’m a little bit like [Lightning star] Brayden Point,” Nazar said. “I’m not as complete a player as him, as of right now, but that’s why you’ve got to work. … I’d say him because of qualities like the speed and being able to score and get in those open areas.”

The Hawks traded up from 38th to 25th to nab Rinzel, whose stock had risen significantly in recent weeks even though he’s a somewhat long-term project prospect.

The 6-3 defenseman split time last season between Chaska High School in Minnesota and Waterloo of the United States Hockey League, and he’s committed to the University of Minnesota next season. He said the Hawks had shown heavy interest in him throughout the scouting process.

While the Hawks’ stream of activity outpaced any team around the league Thursday, they still didn’t create as much of a stir as the host Canadiens did with the No. 1 pick, choosing Juraj Slafkovsky over longtime favorite Shane Wright.

Wright eventually slipped to fourth with the Kraken, with the Devils selecting Simon Nemec second –meaning both of the top two picks were Slovakian –and the Coyotes choosing Logan Cooley third.

The Hawks enter the remaining rounds of the draft Friday with another nine picks to make: 39th and 57th in the second round; 66th, 81st, 90th and 94th in the third round; 167th and 173rd in the sixth round; and 199th in the seventh round.

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