According to TSN’s Hockey insider Darren Dreger, former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michael Kempny is staying in Washington
Over the years, there have been a few players who didn’t quite fit the Chicago Blackhawks’ system and were traded to other teams. The most notable have been defensemen. Players like Nick Leddy, Trevor Daley and, most recently, Michal Kempny.
It is a well known fact that coach Joel Quenneville, a former defenseman, likes his blue-liners to play a certain way. The strategy is to retrieve the puck, make smart plays and pass the puck up to the forwards as quickly as possible.
With the modern-day NHL, we’re seeing more defensemen who like to carry the puck through the zone and get involved in the play. Leddy and Daley loved to show off their smooth skating through the neutral zone, but Quenneville believed that kind of play put the team at risk defensively.
Kempny was a little bit different of a story. He came over from the KHL in 2016 as another one of Stan Bowman’s overseas finds. He was athletic, had a great shot and could hopefully soak up some valuable minutes on a cap-friendly contract.
Unfortunately for Kempny, Quenneville’s tolerance for mistakes isn’t high. Kempny played 50 games in his first season, but in the two years following his rookie season, he saw fewer games and minutes.
At this year’s trade deadline, the Blackhawks traded Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a 2018 third-round pick. The Capitals went on to win the Stanley Cup, and Kempny was a huge contributor. Playing alongside John Carlson, Kempny scored two goals and three assists while posting 39 shots on goal.
TSN Insider Darren Dreger reported on Thursday that despite interest from other clubs around the league, Kempny plans on signing a multi-year deal with the Capitals.
There is nothing to be upset about here, as Kempny simply didn’t fit the system and style the Blackhawks play in Chicago. Congratulations to him on winning the Stanley Cup, signing a long-term deal in the NHL and finding a team that he feels comfortable playing with.
As for the Blackhawks, they will continue to press on looking for a top-four defenseman — as we discuss them possibly letting one go.