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Michal Kempny Says Goodbye To Capitals, Signs With Kraken

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Capitals blueliner Michal Kempny appears poised for a comeback in 2021-22.

After three left leg injuries and a myriad of tough injuries led to him starting 2021-22 in the AHL and spending a good part of the year as a scratch for the Washington Capitals, Michal Kempny is getting a fresh start with the Seattle Kraken.

Per CapFriendly, Kempny inked a one-year, one-way contract worth $750,000 to join Seattle. He is the second Capitals defenseman to leave for the Kraken this offseason, joining Justin Schultz. He will also reunite with former teammates Dennis Cholowski and Andre Burakovsky.

The last few seasons have by no means been easy for the Czech blueliner. After being an integral part of the team’s top pairing en route to the Stanley Cup in 2018 and signing a four-year deal ($2.5 million AAV) after that year to be a top-4 defenseman, Kempny suffered a torn hamstring in April 2019. He would miss significant time but would get to return for some of the 2019-20 campaign and play in the playoff bubble amid COVID-19. He seemed on the road to recovery, but while training for 2021 training camp, he tore his Achilles back home and had to take 6-8 months to get back into game action. Kempny seemed close to returning to the Capitals and was on a conditioning stint in Hershey, where a freak collision with an ice shoveler led to a Grade-2 MCL strain that ended his comeback.

“In that moment, I just didn’t know if I should laugh or cry,” Kempny said before this past season. “I believe that everything bad is behind me.”

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After a rough go-of-it in training camp and needing time to get back to full game speed, Kempny was assigned to the Bears to continue his rehab. He ended up dishing seven assists and wearing the “A” while down in Hershey and eventually came back up as an extra defenseman for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign. He did appear in 15 NHL games for Washington, netting a goal and assist and racking up 22 hits, 19 blocks and a +/- of minus-3.

With young players like Lucas Johansen waiting for their opportunity, Matt Irwin re-signing and Erik Gustafsson and Gabriel Carsslon coming in, Kempny hit the market.

Now, he will get another chance with the Kraken. The 31-year-old still has a lot to offer and can bring a lot to the table when healthy; he just needs to recapture that consistency that made him such an integral part of the Capitals d-corps just a few years back. He will look to show he can still be a full-time NHL d-man in the Pacific Northwest.

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