The trade market is heating up once again, with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Kempny on his way to Washington to join the Capitals. The Blackhawks will receive a conditional 2018 third-round pick in return, the higher of the two Washington currently has (their own, and Toronto’s).
Kempny makes sense as a target for the Capitals, who don’t have much cap room for additions at the deadline. The 27-year old defenseman is earning just $900K this season, and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
For a team like the Capitals that is heading to the playoffs, defensive depth is a huge issue. Everyone around the league is trying to add pieces that could step into an NHL role should injuries arise, and Kempny fills that for Washington. Though he’s not really a top-4 option, he can provide a team with a stable option for a third pair that won’t be noticed much at either end. With 15 points in 81 games since coming over from the KHL in 2016, he won’t be asked to run a powerplay or contribute much offensively.
He’ll slide into the group on the left side for Washington, that also includes Brooks Orpik, Dmitry Orlov and Christian Djoos. Though he may not play every game for them down the stretch, it’s a much needed addition to a defense corps that has seen several pieces leave over the last year.
For the Blackhawks, a third-round pick is an excellent return for a player who was headed for free agency. Kempny had played just 31 games this season, and with Chicago sitting in last place in the Central Division, selling off expiring contracts is the only thing left to do. The third-rounder will help replace the two selections—second and fourth—that the Blackhawks are already missing for the upcoming draft.