Kempny was set to become a restricted free agent this summer after signing a one-year deal with the Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent last summer. He appeared in 50 regular season games with Chicago this season, but never carved out a consistent role under coach Joel Quenneville.
The numbers signal that Kempny is an effective depth defenseman, though. He only recorded two goals and six assists in his 50 appearances, but with a plus-6.9 percent Corsi Relative (which means the Hawks’ Corsi was 6.9 percent higher with him on the ice than off it), he was the best possession player on the team.
That should make him valuable in a bottom-pairing role if the Blackhawks want to go there again, although it’s hard to say how their defense will look exactly next season. The team already has Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Gustav Forsling, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Michal Roszival, and Kempny under contract for next season.
Maybe they plan on using that as their top seven defensemen for next season, although there’s a good chance that TVR is a goner in the Vegas expansion draft and trades could have an impact, too. But with Kempny locked into an affordable one-year deal, the Hawks have another option to work with.