Kempe aims to keep momentum of career-best season
On the heels of consecutive 30-plus goal campaigns, Adrian Kempe continues to build on his standout 2022-23 season with a hungry Los Angeles Kings team.
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Adrian Kempe’s personal game plan for the 2023-24 season goes hand-in-hand with the Los Angeles Kings’ top priority.
After a First Round exit last postseason, Kempe and his teammates lamented what might have been but also took the opportunity to examine the possibilities that lie ahead.
“We were disappointed at how things ended,” said the 27-year-old winger. “It was frustrating, and we wanted to make sure that we came back better and stronger this year.”
So far, Kempe and the Kings are well on their way.
December 7, the team recorded their 11th consecutive road win, setting an NHL record for most road wins to start a season.
“We want to be consistent, and we want to carry the momentum throughout the season and beyond that.”
The forward will play a key role in reaching that objective, even more so after his sensational 2022-23 campaign.
Kempe put up career-best numbers last season, netting 41 goals while becoming the first Kings player to score 40 in a season since Luc Robitaille achieved the feat in 1993-94. In addition to his 67 points in 82 games, Kempe scored four straight in a 6-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 11, 2023, to become just the seventh player in the past 30 years to net four consecutive goals in a game.
Kempe, who recently skated in his 500th NHL regular-season game, led the team in points with 26 through his first 25 games and remains one of the club’s top point-getters.
“For me, winning is the most enjoyable and obviously playing well and contributing to the team,” said Kempe, who earned his first NHL All-Star Game nod in 2022.
“But the feeling when the team is playing well, and you win games, is the most enjoyable part about hockey.”
Forming a formidable line with captain Anze Kopitar and the Kings’ 2020 second overall pick, Quinton Byfield, Kempe is on pace to eclipse last year’s personal-best marks. Most importantly, as the 29th overall pick of the Kings at the 2014 NHL Draft noted, is seeing the team living up to its own expectations.
“I think having four lines that can score, and have been scoring, has been the most impressive part so far,” said Kempe, who agreed to a four-year extension in July 2022. “As a team we’ve scored a lot, and it’s fun to see all lines contributing.”
The fun the team is having has become obvious to Kings fans. Kempe and Byfield’s recent FIFA-inspired goal celebration quickly went viral on social media.
“We played a lot of FIFA together and we were talking about it a couple of days before and then decided to do it next time we scored,” said Kempe, who debuted the celebration alongside Byfield in a victory against Colorado on December 3.
Kempe is hoping there will be more reasons to cheer as the season progresses.
Last postseason, the native of Kramfors, Sweden, recorded eight points, five of them goals, in six playoff contests.
“We are a very hungry group, and everyone worked hard in the offseason to be ready for this year. After losing two years in a row in the First Round, you don’t want to experience that anymore. You have to play hard every night and be prepared every game.”
For Kempe, life away from the rink is quite the opposite of the dynamic player who is almost constantly at full speed throughout a game.
When he is not designing the latest in Kings gear, you may find Kempe in an unlikely place given all Los Angles has to offer.
“I like staying at home on days off, to be honest, but if I have to do something, it would probably be shopping or golf.”