After spending the 2014-15 campaign with MODO of Sweden’s top league, Adrian Kempe is set to get his first taste of North American pro hockey. The Los Angeles Kings’ AHL-affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, announced that they have inked Kempe to an amateur try out agreement.
Kempe, 18, was selected by the Kings with the 29th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Since then he’s scored five goals and 17 points in 50 Swedish league contests. He also had four goals and eight points in six games during the 2015 World Juniors.
His two-year contract with Modo is done, according to LA Kings Insider, so an entry-level deal with Los Angeles is likely on the way. Given that he’s coming from Europe as opposed to the Canadian Hockey League system, he is eligible to spend the full 2015-16 campaign in the AHL if the Kings feel that would be to his benefit.
Kings Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti anticipates Kempe spending the year in the minors, although he doesn’t think it will take Kempe too long to reach the point where he’s NHL ready.
“When he comes, I liken Kempe to somewhere between (Tanner) Pearson and (Tyler) Toffoli, two guys who figured things out fairly quickly,” Yannetti told LAKings.com in February. “I think Kempe is in that same boat, where he has a lot of the tools. He has a lot of the foundation… I don’t think he’s going to take three years, like some guys did.”