Rasmus Kupari was one of those young players that played for the Los Angeles Kings last season and played extremely well. Although knowing the King’s roster for 2022-23 will not be known until October Kupari could have played well enough to get one of those spots.
Kupari can play either center or right-wing and, at 6-foot-1 and 183 pounds, is just physical enough that it creates space for him to operate and allows teammates to create chances. The forward from Kotka, Finland played last season for the Kings and their AHL affiliate the Ontario Reign.
Selected by the Kings 20th overall in the first round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Kupari has shown flashes of brilliance in competing for a roster spot next season. The Kings may be better off putting him on the right-wing because of the center depth. He would need a very impressive camp to take one of the center positions. During the 2021-22 season, he played 57 games in Los Angeles, netting 5 goals and 8 assists for 13 points. For the Reign, he also scored 5 goals and added 3 assists for 8 points in 15 games.
The Kings need playmakers and scorers who are young and Kupari fits that mold. He has a nice, smooth pass that finds teammates for chances, and his puck handling skills are NHL level. Kupari is a nice young player the Kings need, not to be a top-line player or be the main scorer, but to give them bottom six, secondary scoring.
Some of his future depends on training camp and the exhibition games. If a decision needs to be made now, for me, he makes the Kings out of training camp. If the Kings decide to send him to Ontario it might be good for his development. He is only 22 years old so he has time but he has made a good enough impression to fit in the bottom six. Where do you see Kupari playing next season?
(photo: latimes.com; Curtis Zupke) (photo: lakingsinsider.com: Zach Dooley)