Despite doing everything he possibly could over the offseason, Michal Kempny just wasn’t himself during the preseason.
Saturday, the team announced they put the Czech defenseman on waivers with the hopes of assigning him to AHL Hershey if he clears.
#Caps have assigned defenseman Michal Kempny to the Hershey Bears (AHL), pending waiver clearance.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) October 9, 2021
Kempny’s performance did not improve much overall during the preseason, necessitating the need for more hockey elsewhere. In his first preseason game, he was on the ice for the team’s first two goals against, including a giveaway in front of the net to Jack Hughes.
Mr. Steal Yo Puck (and put it in the net) pic.twitter.com/0p83Y5lhes
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) September 30, 2021
“Wasn’t a good one, obviously”, Kempny said later of his performance. “I knew it was not going to be perfect. I feel like my legs was, I was moving very well. I need to get more repetitions to get my game back.”
Kempny, a beloved teammate, still did not seem to have his timing or decision-making back by the end of the preseason, where he continued to commit turnovers against the Flyers and looked out of sorts. Games in the minors would certainly give Kempny an opportunity to re-find his game.
With Kempny off the roster, the Capitals will now turn to Dmitry Orlov, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Martin Fehervary, and possibly Matt Irwin on the left side of the defense. Kempny is in the final season of a four-year, $10 million contract where he has a $2.5 million cap hit. The Capitals will save $1.125 million with Kempny’s contract buried in the minors if he clears and would be free of that $2.5M cap hit completely if he is claimed.
Kempny, acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks before the trade deadline, was arguably the player that put the Capitals over the top during their postseason run in 2018. He was a core member of the team’s defense thereafter until several freak injuries, including being hit by a shovel guy in Hershey last season, derailed his career.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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