Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2014 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2014 Draft Articles Click here.
Adrian Kempe is another in a long-line of well-rounded Swedish prospects. It seems that a large number of Swedish prospects in recent years play the type of excellent two-way gritty game that Kempe possesses. He put up 11 points in 45 games playing against men in the top level of Swedish hockey with Modo. Kempe is currently playing for Sweden in U18 World Championships and has put up five points in his first three games. It is the latest in a long line of international success for Kempe as he was solid at the World U17 Hockey Challenge in 2013, where his five goals in five games helped Sweden take home the gold medal. He has also been very good at various four nations and five nations tournaments over the years. Kempe comes from great bloodlines, as his father Mikael Kempe is a long-time coach in pro hockey in Sweden at the lower levels, while his brother Mario Kempe played in the QMJHL, was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2007, and has spent a number of years at the top level of Swedish hockey. He is also currently playing for Modo.
Kempe is one of the younger players in this draft, born just two days before the cutoff that would place him in the 2015 NHL draft.
Centre/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born Sep 13 1996 — Kramfors, Sweden
Height 6.02 — Weight 187 [188 cm/85 kg]
Adrian Kempe is a very good skater, despite an unorthodox skating stride. He skates with a very wide stride, but this doesn’t seem to take much away from his speed or his acceleration. It also gives him a little more balance and helps him to fight through checks, as well as to protect the puck in the cycle game. Kempe has decent agility but this is not the strength of his game, as he is more about power than finesse.
Kempe plays the game like a bull in a china shop. He drives the net hard, not caring who he has to bull over to get to the areas he wants to go. He is first in on the forecheck, and just loves to punish defenders in the corners. Given his age, and a need to fill out his frame, he is still remarkably effective in winning board battles. He protects the puck very well on the cycle and is a menace down low. His wrist shot is very hard and heavy. It also features a good release. Adrian Kempe also has decent vision and passing skills which he uses out of the cycle. His stickhandling is okay, but he certainly plays a North-South game, and takes the direct route to things, instead of trying to use too many moves to try and get by a defender.
Kempe plays a strong defensive game. He is an industrious forward who never stops skating and his physical and gritty nature is apparent in all three zones of the ice. He supports his defencemen well, and works down low to keep his man and the puck to the outside.
In terms of style, Kempe is comparable to a smaller version of Brandon Dubinsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, playing the same type of physical and industrial game, and bringing the two-way play. This is more of a style comparison than a talent one however. In terms of ceiling, we are probably looking at a second line centre, who can play against the other team’s top line, and provide some offence, but he’s not quite at the elite level where he will be expected to centre a team’s top line in the NHL.
Here are some highlights of Adrian Kempe in action:
Check back tomorrow for my number 22 ranked prospect.
Thank you for reading. Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter – @lastwordBkerr. Support LWOS by following us on Twitter – @LastWordOnSport – and “liking” our Facebook page.
Interested in writing for LWOS? We are looking for enthusiastic, talented writers to join our Hockey writing team. Visit our ”Write for Us“ page for very easy details in how you can get started today!
Main Photo via Modo Hockey.