The Los Angeles Kings inked a restricted free agent earlier, and now they’ve signed a top prospect. Rasmus Kupari has signed his three-year entry-level contract with the team, joining the organization after being selected 20th-overall in June. Head European scout Christian Ruuttu had this to say about Kupari after the Kings selected him:
As a player, we always knew he was a first round talent. He’s got the speed, he’s got the skill, he’s playing with men in the pro league.
We’ve seen him a lot, and we knew what the new game is going towards. Rasmus is part of that game – the speed, the skill and the playmaking, all that. What he really does have, he’s got a good shot on the fly.
Kupari, 18, is expected to remain in Europe for another season despite signing his contract, which will allow it to slide and not begin until the 2019-20 season (or even another year past that). The talented Finnish forward played most of last season in Liiga, the country’s highest level, and recorded 14 points in 39 games. He’s obviously not fully developed at this point, but he measured in at a little more than 6’1″ 188-lbs at the combine which was quite a bit bigger than he’d previously been listed. That bodes well for an NHL career when it’s combined with excellent puck skills and vision, things Kupari should bring to North America before long.
The Kings are developing a nice little prospect pool in recent years, adding names like Gabriel Vilardi, Kale Clague and Jaret Anderson-Dolan to the mix. They even landed Akil Thomas when he slipped to the second round at the most recent draft, another high-upside forward that should help them down the line. While prospects are never guaranteed to pan out, Los Angeles has been looking for offense for years to help fill out their roster in front of Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty. With names like Kupari and Vilardi leading the way, that might not be so far off.