Personally, I always find it amusing when prospect rankings are released because let’s be honest – no one really knows the future so no one truly knows how prospects will turn out and thus it is an incredibly pointless exercise to rank them, but if that tickles your fancy you can read about a lot of them here.
Phil Kemp making waves in Bakersfield
Last year Oilers RD Vincent Desharnais was a feel-good story as he accomplished something that hasn’t been seen since bottom-six forward Kyle Brodziak in 2003 – become an NHL regular after being drafted in the seventh round.
Now granted, seventh-round picks usually have low expectations anyway but what makes this interesting is now the Oilers have a chance to do what has never been accomplished before in their history – have seventh-round picks become NHL regulars in consecutive seasons (seriously, look it up if you don’t believe me).
For you see, young right D Phil Kemp has been showing an uptick for the Condors as of last season. He’s known as a stay-at-home defenceman with leadership skills and a physical edge – but what’s putting him on the radar for a call-up is that this so-called “stay-at-home” blueliner added another tool to his toolbox – secondary offence, something that Desharnais himself doesn’t possess himself although he’s publicly said he’s working on it.
Now this doesn’t mean that Kemp is due to make the team out of camp, I’m not suggesting he’s a surefire bet to make the team out of camp by any means, but if he follows up last season with the same momentum or improved momentum this season for the Condors could he be the first callup on D and get a cup of coffee? Absolutely. Could he stay and perhaps even generate a trade for Desharnais? Perhaps. Desharnais stayed last season in his first callup, who’s to say history doesn’t repeat itself with a different player this season?
Not to mention that Desharnais may be a towering figure, but Kemp isn’t exactly a wilting flower himself – 6’3″ as opposed to Desharnais’s 6’6″ and 202 lbs as opposed to Desharnais’s 215. There’s not much of a difference there.
Desharnais is certainly working on his offence at the right time because if he struggles this season his spot in the lineup, if only temporarily, could be taken by Kemp if he can play his cards right and impresses when called up by the big club.
This’ll be an interesting battle to watch both in training camp and as the season rolls along. NHL players at the bottom of the roster get replaced by other players all the time, so it wouldn’t be unusual if Kemp usurps Desharnais in the lineup.