Yesterday, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period ensured that the last couple days of the bye week would give us something to talk about...
Some Kings news... The Kings have called up Adrian Kempe from Ontario of the AHL— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 14, 2017
The rest of the day went with no further news from the team or any additional outlets, but this morning, agent Claes Elefalk added his own two cents, which seems to confirm that he’s on his way to LA.
This isn’t the most surprising call-up LA could have made, but it’s interesting solely because Kempe is young, at 20 years and 154 days old. By the Kings’ standards, he’s... like... REALLY young.
If Adrian Kempe plays an NHL game this season, he'll be the youngest Los Angeles King to appear in a game since April 8, 2011.— Eric (@EricJFTC) February 14, 2017
Kempe is different than most of the other players who have made the leap from the AHL to the NHL for the Kings recently, though. He’s the highest pick the Kings have had since 2010 (new teammate Derek Forbort), and he brings a tantalizing dose of offensive skill that few others on the Kings possess. The AHL stats haven’t caught up with his abilities yet, and while he has seen an slight increase in goalscoring rate (tied for second on the team), he’s actually racking up fewer points than he did last season.
But Kempe could be put in a position to succeed with the Kings, given that he’s essentially replacing Devin Setoguchi. If he cracks the lineup, it seems likely that he’ll end up in the top nine, and if he’s REALLY lucky he might get some shifts with Anze Kopitar. He already appears to be taking a few tricks from #11.
Gorgeous lofted pass by Kempe sets up Ontario power play with a minute to go pic.twitter.com/8gSViBpDBa— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) February 4, 2017
No word on whether Kempe will make his debut tomorrow against Arizona.
[EDIT: It’s official, and it looks like he will make his debut.]