With the 21st pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, "St. Louis Game Time" is pleased to select, on behalf of the St. Louis Blues, forward Adrian Kempe of MODO Hockey in Sweden.
Kempe hails from Kramfors, a town of about 6000 souls in northern Sweden, located just off the Gulf of Bothnia between Sundsvall to the southwest and Peter Forsberg's home town of Örnsköldsvik to the northeast. It's worth noting that Örnsköldsvik is the home base of Kempe's MODO Hockey club, and that Forsberg serves as the assistant GM of the team... and Kempe plays a style similar to that displayed by Forsberg in a stellar NHL career.
One of the youngest players eligible for this year's draft, Kempe's birth date of Sept. 13 gets him in just two days under the cutoff date for eligibility.
Steve Cocker, Sweden regional scout for International Scouting Services, had this to say about Kempe in the ISS 2014 NHL Draft Guide:
Powerful forward who shows passion on both sides of the puck. Offensive skill-set is game-changing. Plays the game with a noticeable edge.
|Hockey Prospect Black Book
|Int'l Scouting Services
|SWE Jr A
|Sep. 13, 1996
|MODO J20 (Superelit)
|Sweden (WJC U-18)
|MODO J20 (Superelit)
|"Future Considerations" 2014 NHL Draft Guide
|STRENGTHS: Kempe is a strong, two-way forward who brings to the table an impressive balance between skill and physicality. He's got both and uses both properly. He is a very fast skater and has quick acceleration. Kempe is a smooth, powerful-looking skater who gains power and speed coming down the wing. He has excellent size and strength, and is very strong on the puck. I was really impressed with the way Kempe used his speed to escape players and take the puck down the outside, and then use his body to protect the puck effectively from defenders. Kempe is smart with the puck and sees the ice well. He displayed decent hand speed and creativity. He distributes it into open seams, and is a quick thinker with the puck. He makes a crisp, effective pass and locates holes in the opposing defense quickly. Kempe also has a quick, hard wrist shot that he'll use coming off the wing. He works hard on the walls and competes endlessly for the puck. Kempe uses his size nicely to battle for pucks and doesn't seem to mind the physical game. He is solid defensively, getting back into the play quickly and working to take chances from the point men. Kempe gets into post-whistle altercations, especially if provoked and during emotional games. Outstanding penalty killer. Knows how to force a turnover. Kempe’s a leader and a real handful to deal with. Hits everything in sight and happily initiates contact. Not one you look forward to seeing in the corners if you are a defenseman. He is tenacious on the penalty kill, using his stick and smarts to close off options. He gets his frame in front of shots and in lanes defensively to disrupt the opposition. WEAKNESSES: Kempe does not possess high-end creativity or elite offensive vision that would make you think he will be a big point producer at the NHL level. While he can both score and set up a play for a teammate, he needs to work on both his shot and passing skills as both can be hit or miss (pun intended). Seen by most as a very effective complementary player and not a first-line contributor at the next level. Should work on discipline and skating away from altercations. Can put his team down a man when he lets his emotions get the best of him. SCOUTS QUOTE: "I was left very impressed by Kempe (at the U18s), and feel that he can be a high first-rounder. He should make an effective pro one day. The big forward impressed me more than any other Swedish player not named Nylander." NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Nine Two-Way Forward.
|"Hockey Prospect" 2014 NHL Draft Black Book
|Kempe is a player our staff has been fans of going back to last season. He’s a smart player who competes hard in all three zones playing a responsible game. Kempe has some Sean Monahan-like traits in his game in that he is committed to playing solid defense from the forward position ... Kempe is a strong kid and a good skater with a powerful stride. He has a decent shot but can struggle with consistency at times as far as turning scoring chances into goals. His strength is winning battles by playing hard down low and playing smart positional hockey. He’s a player coaches will give ice to because of his hockey IQ and ability to do things like block shots and play smart low-risk hockey when the situation calls for it. He protects the puck well and is able to create plays with decent creativity and special awareness. He reads the play well and takes advantage of what defenders give him. He will seldom turn pucks over trying high risk plays, he plays a pro style game already. Going back to last season his penalty killing stood out to us and he has continued playing great hockey on the PK ... The drawback on Kempe is his lack of high-end skills, mainly scoring ability. We don’t project him to be a big points guy at the next level. We have seen him score but too often we saw solid scoring chances not get converted. There are not many holes in his game but elite scoring ability is not something Kempe flashes ... QUOTABLE: "Love his game." -- NHL Scout ... QUOTABLE: "A smart player but he lacks top six skill." -- NHL Scout ... QUOTABLE: "I just love watching him play and just got to see him again in Finland. He’s the same reliable player I grew to respect last season. I can tell you this, Team Canada brass noticed him. To me Kempe projects to be a trusted player that some NHL Coach will rely on in key situations because he does all the little things coaches preach." – Mark Edwards, Director of Scouting, HockeyProspect.com
|International Scouting Services 2014 NHL Draft Guide
|1. Total package on and off the puck.
|2. Powerful stride up ice.
|3. Developing hands and heavy shot.
|1. Consistent active play defensively.
|2. Quickness and mobility.
|SKILL: Big, versatile center with heavy offensive weapons and good drive on the puck. SCOUTING REPORT: Kempe plays a physical, North-South game up ice as he gains the offensive zone. Strong possession game and ability to drive into scoring areas with ease, excellent mix of powerful lower body and skill-set on the puck. Strong knack for finding loose pucks around the net and finishing from in tight, great hands in tight and awareness. Played in a key role with Sweden at the U18s. Winger who has it all, good offensive skill set while is responsible, strong defensively. Plays with character every shift and has grit in his game, while doesn't miss on making hits. Strong stride, balance on skates. Has solid vision, while trying to make effective plays. Has already played with men in SHL, looking NHL ready for 2015-2016 season. NHL POTENTIAL: Top 6 center and impact player in all situations. STYLE COMPARES TO: Gabriel Landeskog.