The Kings waited and waited and waited some more before selecting left wing Adrian Kempe with the 29th overall pick in the NHL draft Friday in Philadelphia. Kempe won’t attend training camp and it could be several years before he makes the Kings’ roster, but he could be one of the more intriguing first-round picks..
Kempe played for Modo in the Swedish Elite League last season, recording five goals and six assists in 45 games. He is listed at 6-foot-1 1/2 and 187 pounds and was the sixth-ranked International skater in the final rankings by the Central Scouting Service. He’s only 17, however.
“I’ve always played against players one or two years older,” said Kempe, who has one season remaining on his two-year contract with Modo and spend 2014-15 in Sweden. “So, it’s been fun to play in the elite league this year.”
Kempe said he modeled his game after Marian Gaborik, the Kings’ top goal-scorer during the playoffs, when he was younger. More recently he tries to emulate Kings captain Dustin Brown and Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche, two fine two-way players. He also said he’s comfortable playing the wing or center positions.
“It doesn’t matter, actually,” he said.
Asked how much he’s seen of the Kings on TV, Kempe said, “I’ve seen them for a few years now and in the playoffs this year. They have everything. That’s why they won the Stanley Cup this year.”