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While Kemp is not a player with the raw tools of those other players named, reports of his excellent character abound. He graduated straight from that USNTDP to the Yale University Bulldogs, where he has continued to develop his game for the past three seasons. But not, now, a fourth.
Which leaves the young man in something of a predicament. While the school year continues, hockey at Yale is off the board.
So much for Plan A. As Kemp told Postmedia’s Jim Matheson in a June interview:
“I’m just praying for a season. I think they definitely would play games with no fans. That doesn’t matter to me, I’m playing with my teammates. The buses would be the problem. No cross-country trips. Probably take those off the schedule,” said Kemp, who was always going back to school for a fourth year, rather than entertain a possible pro offer from the Oilers after his junior season at Yale.
Under the new paradigm, might a pro offer now receive a different response? Hard to say. Especially with all the uncertainty surrounding minor league hockey in the upcoming season, which has far from a certain future in its own right. Kemp is nowhere near ready for the bigs at this point, but he is primed for the next step, presumably in the AHL.
Having attended three prior Oilers’ Summer Development Camps, he’s certainly aware of the internal competition. In fact he welcomes it, as per that same interview:
“(Evan) Bouchard is very talented, (Philip) Broberg too, (Dmitri) Samorukov is an outstanding young defenceman. They have a great defensive core on the AHL team. Be awesome to be a part of that. I think I could learn a lot and to be competing with them would be awesome.”