LA Kings 2014 1st Round Draft Pick Adrian Kempe Returns To Sweden, But Not Before Making Solid First Impression

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.

Los Angeles Kings 2014 First Round pick forward Adrian Kempe (right) is shown here fighting off Kings fourth round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft,
right wing Justin Auger, during the team’s 2014 Development Camp on
July 8, 2014, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/

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.

“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

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24 Responses to LA Kings 2014 1st Round Draft Pick Adrian Kempe Returns To Sweden, But Not Before Making Solid First Impression

  1. Ice Gold Sports says:

    Awesome stuff man. Could you follow me on twitter? I wanna ask you a few questions about how you got your name out there and stuff. Just looking for some pointers and tips. It would be much appreciated

  2. Roger says:

    Good stuff Gann. I always like to read about the young guys coming up, and you keep me knowledgeable.

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