Blackhawks trade Michal Kempny to Capitals for 3rd-round pick

The defenseman is on the move.

The Chicago Blackhawks have traded defenseman Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a conditional third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the team announced Monday.

The Capitals have two picks in the third round — their own and Toronto’s — so the Blackhawks will receive whichever one is higher, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. In that sense it appears the condition is a good thing, although the pick will likely be in the lower half of the round either way.

Kempny bounced around the Blackhawks’ lineup the past two years after signing with the team out of the KHL. The defenseman has shown strong physical tools that make it obvious why Chicago took a flier on him, but he was unable to carve out a spot in the lineup despite solid performance.

Based on his comments about being traded, it sounds like he’s excited for a new opportunity despite his disappointment of how things panned out in Chicago.

Kempny may not have found a steady place in Chicago but he proved to be a solid depth defenseman who should be able to help the Capitals’ defense this season. Washington will only have him for the stretch run given he’s set to become a UFA this summer. In the meantime, he’s affordable with a $900,000 cap hit.

The 27-year-old leaves Chicago with three goals, 12 assists, and a plus-4.7 percent even strength Corsi relative in 81 games. He primarily played a more sheltered role on the second and third pairings, which helps explain the strong shot numbers to a degree.

A third-round pick isn’t a massive return, but it makes sense for the Blackhawks to start recouping value for players who would leave this summer anyway. The team is clearly going to be a seller of sorts at the trade deadline given where it is in the standings, so moving players like Kempny and Tommy Wingels for draft picks is the sensible thing to do.

The Blackhawks only had two picks in the first two rounds of the 2018 NHL Draft entering today. They’re now set to now have two picks in the third round along with that lottery pick we’re all rather excited about.