The Los Angeles Kings announced on Friday that they have signed Mario Kempe to a one-year, two-way deal. The contract has a cap hit of $700,000 at the NHL level. Kempe has spent the last two seasons in the Arizona Coyotes system.
Mario Kempe, formerly with Arizona, signs a one-year, two-way contract: pic.twitter.com/xdPMH9PcKm
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) July 5, 2019
L.A. Kings Ink Mario Kempe to One-Year Deal
Kempe was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2007. He finished his QMJHL career after being drafted, then moved to Swedish hockey for the 2008-09 season. That year the Swedish native Kempe also played five AHL games. He had a yearning for the SHL, though. He would return home, playing in Sweden until 2014. In total, Kempe tallied 104 points in 294 SHL games.
After the 2013-14 season ended, Kempe moved to the KHL where he played until the 2016-17 season. He tacked on another 83 points in 166 KHL games, playing for Podolsk Russia’s Podolsk Vityaz. The 2016-17 season would be his final in Europe, though. The Coyotes agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with Kempe in May of 2017. This brought him overseas and back into American hockey.
Kempe started the 2017-18 season in the NHL. He didn’t manage much, though, playing in 18 games with only two points before being sent to the AHL. He finished the season in the minors, where he tallied 37 points in 47 games. This strong AHL showing was enough to earn Kempe an NHL spot for the start of the 2018-19 season. He didn’t last long, though, being sent to the AHL before the end of October. He only played in 10 AHL games, scoring 11 points, before the Coyotes decided to yet again recall the 30-year-old. In total, he played in 52 NHL games last season but only scored nine points.
The signing is a bit of a family reunion for Kempe. His younger brother, Adrian Kempe, was drafted by the Kings in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. Since then, the 22-year-old Adrian has played in each of the past three seasons. In total, he’s recorded 71 points in 187 NHL games. Of these 71 points, 28 came in 81 games last year. This has been enough production to establish the younger Kempe as a promising up-and-comer in L.A.. He’s also become quite a fan-favorite and will undoubtedly appear in the NHL next season. Whether Mario will play alongside his brother in the NHL is yet to be seen.