Kemp, 24, was a pending restricted free agent with arbitration rights after the conclusion of his entry-level deal. During the three seasons of his entry-level contract, the Connecticut-born defender spent all his time with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, save for a loan to Väsby IK of the Swedish Allsvenskan due to COVID in 2020-21.
In the recently concluded 2022-23 season, Kemp showcased his development by setting career highs in multiple categories. He appeared in 71 games, recording six goals and 15 assists while also leading the team with a +12 rating. His contributions placed him third among his fellow Condors defensemen in goals, assists, and games played.
Selected by the Oilers in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Kemp’s journey to a second NHL deal has been winding. He spent the first three seasons after his draft year playing collegiate hockey at Yale before turning pro in 2020. Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 202 pounds, Kemp is growing into a physically capable and defensively inclined blueliner who’s comfortable in a top-four role in the minors.
At 24, there may not be much of an NHL future for Kemp, but he’s checked off all the boxes that you’d expect from someone in his draft position. If nothing else, he’s set to continue his development into a solid farmhand player, still bringing value to the organization even outside of an NHL role.