July 25: Seattle has officially announced the contract, adding Kempny to the organization.
Kempny, 31, won the Stanley Cup in 2018 with the Washington Capitals, playing a decently-sized role on their veteran defense. Since that point, Kempny has struggled in larger roles and fallen down the depth chart in Washington, to the point where he split time between the Capitals and their AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, in 2021-22.
The 31-year-old native of Czechia is an undrafted player who once looked like a potential middle-of-the-lineup NHL defenseman. Nowadays, though, he’s more of a depth player, and he’ll likely battle with Cale Fleury and Gustav Olofsson for the seventh defenseman slot in Kraken training camp. In Washington this year, Kempny skated in 15 games and notched two points, playing just under 16 minutes of ice time per game and just over a minute on the penalty kill. In the AHL, Kempny was able to handle a larger role and acted as the Bears’ number-one defenseman in the games he played. In Hershey, Kempny led the Bears in time-on-ice per game and saw significant minutes on their penalty kill.
In Seattle, Kempny will either win a training-camp battle and make the opening night roster, or the Kraken will hope he clears waivers and is able to be sent to their AHL affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds. If the latter scenario comes about, Kempny will likely play as a top-pairing defenseman in the AHL and be one of the team’s first call-ups if injuries hit their blueline. At a $750k cap hit, Kempny is a wise signing for a Kraken team looking to improve upon a dismal first season.