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NHL Prospect Profile: Rasmus Kupari

AJ Haefele Avatar
June 18, 2018

Statistics

Scout Quotes

Kupari is most dangerous with the puck on his stick. He is a tremendous stick handler and can beat defensemen one-on-one. Pairing this with his skating skills, and he is difficult to defend. Kupari also has very good passing skills and excellent vision. Once he opens up a passing lane, he quickly makes a tape-to-tape pass to a teammate. Kupari anticipates plays well, and knows where his teammates are going before they make their move. He almost always makes the smart play with the puck.

Kupari has the ability to be a top six centre at the NHL level. Some development is needed though. It is not unusual for a 17-year-old playing his first season in a men’s league to need to add mass to his frame though. Other aspects of his game are good, but like most young players, they need some refinement. He has creativity and skill that cannot be taught and is an exciting prospect for this reason. – Last Word on Hockey

Super slick offensive-minded center with good size and a knack for making big plays. Kupari’s highlight-reel dominance in last August’s under-18 Ivan Hlinka tournament got his draft year off to an excellent start, and he hasn’t disappointed with his league play as a rookie in a men’s elite league. He’s a very strong skater with excellent balance and agility, and he uses an array of fakes, stutter steps and rapid directional changes to expand the open ice around him and finish close to the cage. Kupari’s stickhandling is among the best of any 2018 draft eligible, and he uses it to either dance through or around traffic. What sets him apart from the majority of his peers is the way he can spot and connect with the open man just seconds after dangling his way through a wall of opponents. – The Draft Analyst

AJ’s Thoughts

Kupari is a guy with a ton of skill who can be a blast to watch when he’s going right. He’s a very good skater who is downright explosive with the puck. He’s dynamic, creative, and his hands are straight up sublime. He makes plays for his teammates and himself alike and he masterfully abuses the space he creates with the puck. He’s a guy who keeps his head up while carrying the puck through the neutral zone, constantly looking ahead for the next play to keep the defense off kilter.

Kupari’s season was respectable given the quality of his team and the role they asked him to play. He measured in at just over 6’1″ at the Combine and while that height is a very good feather in his cap, it only reinforced his need for added strength to his lanky frame. He’s not great defensively and sometimes he simply looks uninterested in trying to get the puck back for his team. His defensive immaturity is a big concern for me and it makes me wonder if he’ll be able to stick at center in the NHL. If he does, it means that aspect of his game came a long way and his playmaking is carrying him to a major scoring role in the top six.

Highlights

Avalanche Fit

High-end offensive skill and a great skater to boot? He sounds exactly like what the Avalanche are going into this draft class hoping to land in the first round. His offensive upside is an obvious fit for what Colorado badly needs. He would be one of the handful of obvious choices for Colorado at 16 if he makes it that far. He could be a stud for them, especially if he remains at center and fully develops his offense.

Rankings

#19 Hockey Prospect
#16 Future Considerations
#21 McKeen’s Hockey

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