The busy offseason in Southern California continues as the LA Kings/Ontario Reign have four more contracts added to their roster.
On Friday, the LA Kings inked three players to AHL deals, continuing to bolster their depth. Forwards Brett Kemp and Nikita Pavlychev, along with goaltender John Lethemon, each signed one-year contracts. Two days later, the Kings signed Brayden Burke to a one-year, two-way contract.
Kemp, 21, has spent most of his playing career in the Western Hockey League (WHL) – with a short stint in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) last season – most recently with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
He’s been over a point-per-game player the past two seasons in the WHL, scoring 12 goals and 31 points in 23 games last season and 30 goals, 77 points in 62 games in the 2019-20 campaign for the Tigers.
Though he went undrafted, he was invited to the Vegas Golden Knights development camp shortly after the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
The Russian-born Pavlychev is a 24-year-old center, affectionately known as ‘Baby Giraffe,’ was signed to an AHL deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season.
He played eight games for the Syracuse Crunch, picking up three helpers in his first action in the American League.
Originally from Yaroslavl, Pavlychev – sorry, Baby Giraffe – stands at a towering 6-foot-7 and was drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He spent his first three years stateside in Des Moines, IA of the United States Hockey League (USHL) before spending four years in the NCAA with Penn State.
His best year with the Nittany Lions came in his junior season, where he had 14 goals, 15 assists for 29 points in 39 games.
The undrafted Lethemon was a four-year player for Michigan State University and appeared in 101 games for the Spartans, posting a career .904 SV%, but had a very strong senior season, going 15-15-2 with a 2.13 GAA and .935 SV%.
The 24-year-old spent the last seasons in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. He appeared in 25 games, posting a 13-5-4-1 record with a 2.71 GAA and .903 SV%.
Per Kings: "Signed forward Brayden Burke to a one-year, two-way contract extension with an average annual value (AAV) of $750,000 at the NHL level."
— lisa dillman (@reallisa) August 1, 2021
Acquired on day two of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Burke will likely be the most impactful signing of the bunch. The former AHL All-Star will be on a two-way deal, paying him $750,000 at the NHL level.
Between this group and the Kings’ loaded prospect pool, there will be plenty of competition for roster spots in both Los Angeles and Ontario.