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Edmonton Oilers recall defenceman Phil Kemp

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers have recalled defenceman Phil Kemp from the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, the club announced Monday night.
The recall comes days after Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said the club would look to recall a rearguard for the club’s upcoming three-game road trip. It will feature stops in Chicago on Tuesday, Detroit on Thursday and Montreal on Saturday.
Kemp, 24, was drafted by the Oilers in the seventh round of the 2017 draft and is the latest defenceman to work his way from Bakersfield up to Edmonton, following the most recent one in Vincent Desharnais. Now in his fourth season of pro hockey, Kemp has appeared in 26 games this year, scoring five assists. And while offence hasn’t particularly been his strong point as a player, it’s something that flourished in his game during the 2022-23 season, where he scored six goals and 21 points in 71 games.
It brought forth Kemp coming in as the Oilers’ fifth-ranked defensive prospect, according to our own prospect guru Bruce Curlock. Here’s some of what he wrote about Kemp:
For the coming season, Phil Kemp is going to play 1RD and first pairing on the penalty kill and all shutdown situations. If Kemp can do all of that well plus continue to develop his offense, there is little question he will get a look. The Oilers remain thin in the defensive group. It is a long season and injuries do happen. Should that be the case, Quinn Hughes’ former partner might see him lining up against him this season.
And last offseason here’s more of Curlock’s analysis of where Kemp’s game is:
I think Phil Kemp can play. If you asked me before last season whether I thought Kemp or Desharnais would make the NHL, I would have leaned to Kemp. I think he has more skills that are translatable to the NHL.
Now this is for a limited minutes third pairing or 7th defenceman-type role, but the skills are there. Phil Kemp has a massive opportunity this year. He’s going to play top-pairing minutes and likely will play a lot with skilled players. This is a season where he could create an NHL opportunity.
If he needs any further belief or inspiration, he only needs to call big #73. Maybe this year all three of the big righty triumvirate can have NHL success at the same time.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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