The LA Kings have signed forward Rasmus Kupari to a three-year entry-level contract, Kings Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake announced today.
Kupari was the Kings first round pick, No. 20 overall, at the 2018 NHL Draft.
“I’m very excited and happy right now,” Kupari said after being selected by the Kings. “I’m thankful to all of my family and girlfriend and my home team in Finland, Karpat. This is a big moment for me.”
“Blakey [Rob Blake] has really stuck to our guns with regards to what we saw last year with [Gabe] Vilardi dropping and the year he has had,” Kings Assistant General Manager Mike Futa said at the NHL Draft.
“We just have to keep adding to our shelves and know we have some good young players coming up. This guy brings an element of speed, his skating is very comparable to the way [Adrian] Kempe skates.”
The 18-year-old Kupari (born on March 15, 2000) is a 6-1, 188-pound prospect from Kotka, Finland. He appeared in 39 regular season games with Karpat in the Finnish Professional League (Liiga). He tallied 14 points (6-8=14), 12 penalty minutes and a plus-4 rating.
It was his first season with Karpat, having played for their Under-20 team for part of this season and last season, totaling 21 points (7-14=21), 18 penalty minutes and a plus-9 rating in 33 games over the last two years.
“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,” Kings’ Head European Scout Christian Ruuttu said at the Draft.
“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.”
Deposits are also being accepted for Groups of 15 or more and Private Event Suite rentals, and deposit holders will receive exclusive pre-sale windows before the general public.
Individual ticket sales information for the 2018-19 season will be released at a later date.