Rasmus Kupari is an explosive centerman with great puck skills and a skating ability that will make him a pain in the neck for NHL defenses. Let’s learn a little more about him.
BSH 2018 Community Draft Board, No. 13: Rasmus Kupari
Position / Team: C / Karpat, Liiga
2017-18 Statistics: 6 G, 8 A in 39 GP
Size: 5’11” 163
What’s there to like?
The first thing to jump at you with Kupari is 100 percent, his skating. Kupari’s skating makes him a threat each and every time he steps on the ice, and it only makes him more dangerous when looking at his other strengths. He’s able to push back defenders with his great skating and escapability, which opens up his excellent passing and shooting abilities. In watching film, Kupari consistently was able to find open areas on the ice and either get off a quick shot, or find a teammate for a prime scoring chance.
Kupari’s shot can be lethal when accurate, making him all the more dangerous on the rush. He’s got a quick release and a blistering shot to make for a fantastic combination offensively. I definitely like Kupari’s shot more than his passing ability, but by no means is he a bad passer. His quick hands and ability to make plays in tight make him a threat more so than raw passing ability.
What also helps the 18 year old’s cause, is he already has pro experience playing in Finland. He knows what it’s like to go up against grown men and he had himself an impressive rookie season. He was second to No. 10 selection of this draft board — Jesperi Kotkaniemi — in total points among U18 players. What makes this all the more impressive is Kupari’s size disadvantage. Weighing in at just 163 pounds, Kupari was still able to contribute.
What’s not to like?
As a segue, Kupari’s frame definitely is the biggest drawback to his game. He’ll need to add on some weight before I think he’d be able to physically handle NHL seasons. However, given his great skating ability and with the NHL becoming increasingly faster and smaller as the seasons go on, this may end up not being as big of a deal as it could be. There are also some concerns about his defensive zone awareness, but one would assume that would get worked out as he progresses as a player.
Overall he’s very raw, but the potential is very high.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
Kupari would be right in that Morgan Frost territory I believe. I think one could make the argument that because he’s already played against Finnish professionals that he might have the edge, but I don’t think there would be a clear favorite between the two. I also have a hard time imagining him staying at center, but we’ll see.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
I think there’s a solid chance he could go in the 11-13 range, but more than likely he’ll be there. If he is? I would love to see Ron Hextall pick this guy depending on who’s on the board. He might slip to 19 but at this stage I’m doubting it, so their only chance to get him will probably be at 14.
Kupari is a dynamic player whose dynamic play isn’t always visible. Is that because he’s on such a good team though? After the year Vegas had, it’d be silly to overlook what a difference giving players an opportunity to succeed is. What he accomplished in his limited role in the Liiga is still impressive. That’s why he’s been the source of some debate among draft observers; he hasn’t underperformed (on the contrary), but there’s been less of his performance to evaluate, which is critical for a player who Corey Pronman has said looks like a top 10 pick at times.
While Kupari didn’t produce to the same degree as Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who scored 17 points (6G, 11A) in 29 games, when comparing the two draft-eligibles it is important to know that Kupari played centre this season in a professional league, while Kotkaniemi lined up as a winger in Ässät. With this in mind, it seems that Kupari has progressed further in his development for the centre position overall compared to his compatriot.
Highlights (video credit to Prospect Film Room):
Once again, just adding one to the board. Next up is Canadian/American defenseman Bode Wilde.
Bode Wilde — D, USNTDP Juniors (USHL) — 3 G, 13 A in 25 GP
In his second NTDP season, with a new coach at the helm, Wilde has shown NHL scouts, and me, what people were getting excited about him for in the first place. Playing on the same pairing as fellow top 2018 draft prospect K’Andre Miller, Wilde has brought his offense back up, made tremendous strides in his play in his own end, and although he is a righty, has proven he is adept at playing on either side of the ice. Leading into the upcoming World Under-18 Championships, Wilde has 11 goals and 36 points across all competitions. He is expected to play top-end minutes for the favored Americans as they seek their eleventh title at the tournament.
— via Mile High Hockey
2018 BSH Community Draft Board
- Rasmus Dahlin — D, Frolunda (SHL) (no vote)
- Andrei Svechnikov -- RW, Barrie (OHL) (60% of the vote)
- Filip Zadina — LW, Halifax (QMJHL) (74%)
- Brady Tkachuk — LW, Boston University (NCAA) (57%)
- Oliver Wahlstrom — C/RW, USNTDP (USHL) (40%)
- Quinn Hughes — D, Michigan University (NCAA) (50%)
- Adam Boqvist — D, Brynas IF (SHL) (42%)
- Evan Bouchard — D, London (OHL) (49%)
- Noah Dobson — D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL) (50%)
- Jesperi Kotkaniemi — C, Assat (Liiga) (34%)
- Joe Veleno — C, Drummondville (QMJHL) (38%)
- Joel Farabee — LW, USNTDP Juniors (USHL) (45%)
- Rasmus Kupari C, Karpat (Liiga) (31%)
Please use your vote below to answer the following question: If all of the players listed were available when the Flyers were on the clock, who would you want them to pick?
Who should be No. 14 on the 2018 BSH Community Draft Board?
This poll is closed