Phil Kemp must be on cloud nine today. The 21- year-old defenceman was set to enter his senior year at prestigious Yale University, where he is a history significant in the age-old Ivy League school. He ‘d been called captain of the Yale Bulldogs, the oldest hockey group in NCAA, having played their very first games in1896 Based on Wikipedia, “Yale has actually functioned as a bedrock of college hockey since, playing constantly for 125 seasons(as of 2020) including through the Great Anxiety and two world wars.”
However not the damnable COVID-19 Late recently it was revealed that all six Ivy League universities had cancelled their winter sports for the whole season, hockey consisted of, leaving student-athletes like Phil Kemp without an apparent location to play in 2020-21
Though undoubtedly he’s not the only victim, we mention Kemp particularly due to the fact that he is a prospect of the local NHL club, having been drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the seventh round of2017 Despite the lowly selection– #208 in general, for goodness sake– Kemp was a decently prominent selection. He ‘d served as team captain for his age group of the powerful United States National Team Development Program for the prior two seasons (U-17 in 2015-16, U-18 a year later on). Of a squad that consisted of future first-round draft options like Brady Tkachuk, Quinn Hughes, and Josh Norris amongst its full-time gamers, it was Phil Kemp who was chosen as the club leader. He would win a gold medal in the IIHF U-18 championships that year, and silver in the U-20 occasion (a.k.a. World Junior) two years later on as the stable stay-at-home partner to the mercurial Hughes, now an increasing star with Vancouver Canucks.
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While Kemp is not a player with the raw tools of those other gamers called, reports of his exceptional character abound. He finished straight from that USNTDP to the Yale University Bulldogs, where he has actually continued to develop his game for the previous 3 seasons. But not, now, a 4th.
Which leaves the young man in something of a dilemma. While the academic year continues, hockey at Yale is off the board.
A lot for Strategy A. As Kemp informed Postmedia’s Jim Matheson in a June interview:
” I’m simply praying for a season. I believe they absolutely would play video games with no fans. That doesn’t matter to me, I’m having fun with my teammates. The buses would be the issue. No cross-country trips. Probably take those off the schedule,” stated Kemp, who was constantly returning to school for a fourth year, instead of entertain a possible professional deal from the Oilers after his junior season at Yale.
Under the new paradigm, might a professional offer now receive a different reaction? Difficult to say. Particularly with all the unpredictability surrounding small league hockey in the upcoming season, which has far from a certain future in its own. Kemp is no place near all set for the bigs at this point, however he is primed for the next step, presumably in the AHL.
Having gone to three prior Oilers’ Summertime Advancement Camps, he’s definitely knowledgeable about the internal competitors. He welcomes it, as per that exact same interview:
“( Evan) Bouchard is very skilled, (Philip) Broberg too, (Dmitri) Samorukov is an exceptional young defenceman. They have an excellent protective core on the AHL team. Be amazing to be a part of that. I believe I might find out a lot and to be taking on them would be incredible.”
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That’s a terrific mindset, one that served Kemp well with those high-powered U.S.A. nationwide groups. Lots of in his position would consider that competition and succumb to the temptation to merely let the Oilers’ signing rights to him end next Aug 15, though that’s 9 months away and would formalize the loss of a season he terribly requires for his advancement.
Perhaps he may indicate to the team that he ‘d choose a trade stateside, as happens all too often with American-born NCAA gamers drafted by Canadian teams. Case in point: John Marino, drafted by the Oilers in the 6th round in 2015 and attendee of numerous advancement camps of his own. Marino was going to let the clock gone out and become a complimentary representative, in essence requiring a trade to Pittsburgh for anything the Oilers could restore (which ended up being a future sixth round pick). All he did next was make the Penguins right out of camp and go on to an impressive rookie season, making Calder votes in the process. Another popular example is Marino’s Harvard University colleague Adam Fox, prepared by Calgary but now an increasing star with New york city Rangers.
Not stating that Kemp is of the quality of those men, however his underlying agreement scenario is comparable. He’s been spending time inside the top 20 of our Cult of Hockey prospect series the last three years, most just recently at #16 in the provisionary 2020 rankings. That’s numerous notches higher than most 7th-round choices end up, however with factor.
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I took a deeper take a look at this player, reviewing all of his shifts in his final 3 games at Yale, a 2 games to 1 series win over Union College that qualified Yale for the 2nd round of the ECAC playoffs (where the 6 Ivy League groups play in addition to 6 other universities in the northeast). That was when COVID struck for the first time, leading to the cancellation of NCAA playoffs and the Frozen 4.
Here’s my handle his play in those games in our traditional player grade format:
Game One: Yale 0 vs Union 3
- Played shifts on both sides of the ice as one of a wide variety of righties on Yale’s back end. Careless start to the game with a couple of bad passes under pressure, one bad pinch, and a been worthy of -1 on the very first Union objective, in which the drop pass and shot both took place in his area, and through his screen. Made one great rush and enter the slot for an unsafe shot. A number of shots of his own without a great deal of power on either. Tried an end-to-end rush but ended up on the seat of his pants after trying to split the defence. Good deal with the penalty kill, strong positioning of both body and stick in the shooting and passing lanes. Outlet passing just so-so on the night.
Statistics: 17: 45 TOi, 0-0-0, -1, 3 shots, 1 hit, 1 block, 2 giveaways, 6 “takeaways” (different from NHL takeaways). Grade=4.
Game Two: Yale 4 vs Union 1
- A lot of 50/50 fighting along the walls, more holding his own than outright controling one-on-one scenarios. After first helping to win belongings deep in Yale area, he made a great read to delve into the rink-length rush and acted as the decoy on a 2-on-1 as Yale lastly scored their very first goal of the series after five futile durations to tie the video game at 1-1 early in the 3rd. Awarded with a main assist. Made a tape-to-tape outlet pass that keyed the zone entry on the consent tally just a minute later, making a secondary assist on the play. Did a great job keeping the puck in and taking it all the way to the corner. Crucial shot block on the penalty kill. Broke up a hazardous go through the slot. Drew a late powerplay when hooked on a rush with under 3 minutes left. With Yale handing on to a 3-1 lead late, he got a shift on that powerplay and without delay scored by taking advantage of some open ice, then firing a sizzling wrister shot that beat the goalie low blocker to put the game on ice.
Statistics: 18: 38 TOi, 1-2-3, 2, 2 shots, 1 hit, 1 block, 1 giveaway, 7 takeaways. Grade=8.
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Game 3: Yale 2 vs Union 1 (2 OT)
- Joined the play late to take a pass just inside the offending blueline and fire a low shot that was tipped on web for a great chance. Coughed the puck up when he attempted to stickhandle around a checker in the neutral zone, though alert colleagues covered him off. Made a terrific play to keep the puck in at the line, then rapidly pass off to assist establish a Grade An opportunity. Made another fine play to block a harmful shot in tight to his own net. Made a fantastic diagonal joint pass to set up what seemed a sure goal however Kemp’s mate sounded it off the crossbar. Weak cleaning pass on the PK caused some problem. Had an excellent opportunity 15 seconds into the very first overtime but his shot from the best circle was turned aside. Beaten on the rush by wide speed for a dangerous chance. Made another chance for himself with a nice drag relocation and angled shot that produced a mad scramble in front. Couldn’t rather manage a tough, off-target pass early in the second OT however made an excellent recovery to tie up his man to prevent a possible jailbreak.
Statistics: 27: 41 TOi, 0-0-0, even, 1 shot, 4 hits, 4 giveaways, 14 takeaways. Grade=7.
- Easy to see why his coaches like Kemp: he’s a reputable rearguard who can normally be found in the ideal locations and has the discipline to keep his shifts brief and err on the side of the early modification. He was not as defensively dominant as I anticipated, and not particularly physical … he simply obstructed a lot, kept his head on his shoulders and his stick and/or skates in the passing lanes. On the other hand in this series he was substantially more of an offending force than generally reported, scoring 3 points to lead a resurgence win in Video game Two and contributing to a handful of harmful opportunities in Video game Three.
I didn’t see him as a particularly strong technical skater, though he seldom left himself in position to be badly burned. A bit of a plodding stride, though, and not a natural on pivots or shifts.
That’s a location of his game that will need to come a long way if he harbours the NHL dream. He’s still simply 21 and in a best-case scenario still a couple of years off, so he does have time to discover. The clock’s already ticking.
At 6′ 3, 209 lbs., the right shot protector has the similar specs as Adam Larsson (or Filip Berglund for that matter), and has some comparable characteristics though nothing looking like the nasty edge that specifies Larsson’s game. If he is to make it he forecasts as a third-pairing, Steady Eddy type.
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