Forward Adrian Kempe of the Los Angeles Kings is having a career year that nobody expected. The talented forward scored two goals Monday night against the Calgary Flames to reach the 30 goal plateau, a career-high in goals.
In his last 10 games, Kempe has five goals and six assists for 11 points, by far the hottest player on the Kings. The 25-year-old now has 31 goals and 16 assists for 47 points in 69 games this year, along with 40 penalty minutes.
The King’s 2014 first-round pick (#29 overall) had struggled his first season in the NHL. During the 2016-17 season, he totaled two goals and four assists for six points in 25 games. However, expectations were still high because of the skill the Kings saw in him before the draft.
After years of trying to find his game, it looks as if Kempe has his game together. The speedster from Sweden is not only a gifted scorer but he has an edge to his game that gives the opposition fits. Kempe does not fight that much but when he does he can handle himself very well.
This season Kempe made his first all-star team and played in his first all-star game. If that wasn’t enough Kempe finished second in the fastest skater competition, finishing with an amazing time of 13.585 seconds in that event.
This is truly a breakout season that nobody saw coming, Yes, everyone knew he had talent and skill but he had not shown anything close to what he is doing this season.
After this season Kempe will be an RFA, as his 3-year, $6 million contract comes to an end. This would be a big project for general manager Rob Blake to get him locked up sooner than later. Could be one of the bigger moves in the offseason for the Kings.
(photo: nhl.com; Mike G. Morreale) (photo: lakingsinsider.com; Zach Dooley)