LA KINGS PROSPECT WATCH: Throughout the summer, Frozen Royalty will be taking a look at several of the Los Angeles Kings’ young prospects. First up is 2014 First round selection Adrian Kempe. An audio interview with Kempe is also included.
EL SEGUNDO, CA — When the Los Angeles Kings turn during the first round of the 2014 National Hockey League Draft on June 27 came around, all of the top prospects were long gone, well before the Kings’ 29th overall selection came around.
Despite that, although no one will know until and unless he actually plays for the Kings, forward Adrian Kempe, who the Kings selected with that pick, appears to fit the Kings like a glove.
One week later, Kempe was in Southern California for the Kings annual Development Camp for their young prospects and one of Kempe’s advantages over his peers—having played against older players for several years—was quite evident.
“I think [playing against older players] helped me, most definitely,” said the 17-year-old, 6-1, 178-pound native of Kramfors, Sweden. “It’s the senior game in the pro league in Sweden. They’re really good players. You don’t have as much time as do you when you’re playing in juniors or with your own age group, so that’s helped me a lot in my career.”
Outside of North America, hockey is played on the considerably larger Olympic size ice surface, resulting in play that emphasizes finesse and speed, and less physical play. Despite that, Kempe has developed into a power forward with MODO of the Swedish Hockey League.
“It’s pretty different [in the NHL],” he said. “It’s a smaller rink and you don’t have as much time with the puck as you [might] have in a bigger rink like in Sweden. That’s a big difference. The power play is really physical here.”
“The small rink and the North American [style of] play fits me pretty good,” he added. “I’m a big, strong player. They play really fast hockey, a physical game. That’s what I try to do, too. I think that kind of play fits me pretty good.”
Even with that, Kempe said he was a little rusty coming into camp.
“I think it went pretty good,” Kempe said about his first two days of camp. “I haven’t been on the ice for a couple of weeks, so it was pretty hard to skate. But I’m starting to get into it now.”
Mike Donnelly, who works with the Kings development staff and serves as a collegiate scout indicated that there was not much value in a detailed evaluation of Kempe (or the other 2014 draft picks) yet. But he offered his first impression.
“My first impression of Kempe is that he has a lot of skill,” said Donnelly. “I like his length. There’s a lot to like in him. He’s working hard. From what I’ve seen in two days, he’s an excellent student. He’s listening, he’s applying the things we’re teaching him.”
Kempe returned to Sweden after camp ended on July 11. Before leaving town, he learned that the aspect of his game that he needs to focus on in 2014-15, not unlike the vast majority of NHL forward prospects, is learning to play on the defensive side of the puck.
Back to Sweden after a great week in LA!—
Adrian Kempe (@adriankempe) July 11, 2014
“I need to improve on defense and protecting the puck in the corner—we practiced that a lot here,” said Kempe. “My defensive play—I need to be little more focused. [But] I need to improve on a lot of things if I’m going to play in the NHL in the future.”
Raw Audio Interviews
(Extraneous material and dead air have been removed; click on the arrow to listen):
Adrian Kempe (3:59)
Frozen Royalty’s 2014 Off-Season LA Kings Prospects Coverage
- LA Kings Believe The Time Is Now For Forward Prospect Andy Andreoff
- LA Kings Are Banking On Brayden McNabb Being A Ready For Prime Time Player In 2014-15
- “Simpler” And “Smarter” Will Be Keywords For LA Kings Defenseman Prospect Colin Miller in 2014-15
- LA Kings Center Prospect Nick Shore Doesn’t Stand Out, But That’s A Good Thing
- LA Kings Center Prospect Jordan Weal Is “Doing Everything He Possibly Can To Become An NHL Player”
- RW Prospect Scott Sabourin Could Be Another Diamond In The Rough For LA Kings
- Transition From College Hockey To The AHL Hasn’t Been Easy For LA Kings D Prospect Derek Forbort
- LA Kings Goalie Prospect J.F. Berube Looks To Take An Even Bigger Step Forward In 2014-15
- Adding Strength Is The Priority For LA Kings Defenseman Prospect Zac Leslie
- Polished Off The Ice, LA Kings’ Defenseman Prospect Roland McKeown Is Working To Be Equally Polished On It
- You’ll Have To Look Closely To See Where LA Kings LW Prospect Valentin Zykov Has Improved
- A Glimpse At The Critical Role Development Has Played In LA Kings’ Championships
- Frozen Royalty Begins 2014 Off-Season Coverage With Photos From LA Kings 2014 Development Camp
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