LA Kings wrap up NHL draft with focus on speed, offense

The Kings looked to fill an obvious void in the system by seeking out a center with their first pick

“In the NHL, you certainly need to be fast, you need to be skilled, you need to be competitive and you need hockey sense,” said LA Kings Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti. “We filled a lot of those needs today.”

Music to all Kings fans ears.

After making their return to the playoffs this season, the Los Angeles Kings utilized their first pick in the NHL Draft to bolster the organization’s offensive attack.

With the 20th overall pick, the LA Kings drafted 18-year-old center Rasmus Kupari out of Finland. The 5-foot-11 right hander is known for his slick ability maneuvering through traffic and being versatile on both sides of the ice. Last season, he made his debut with the senior team for Karpat in the Finnish Liga, tallying six goals and eight assists in 39 games.

“We just have to keep adding to our shelves and know we have some good young players coming up,” Kings assistant general manager Mike Futa said. “This guy brings an element of speed, his skating is very comparable to the way [Adrian] Kempe skates.”

Kupari’s film also shows a unique ability to create space for teammates through impressive skating abilities in the open ice.

Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2014, the LA Kings have alternated seasons between missing the playoffs and being knocked out in the first round. The Silver and Black look to reverse that trend during the 2018-19 season after being swept by the Las Vegas Golden Knights last season.

LA Kings roll out 82-game regular-season schedule for 2018-19

Updated with LA Kings selections from rounds 2-6:

Round 2, 51st overall: forward Akil Thomas (Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL)

Round 3, 82nd overall: forward Bulat Shafigullin (Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik, KHL)

Round 4, 114th overall: forward Aidan Dudas (Owen Sound Attack, OHL)

Round 5, 144th overall: goaltender David Hrenak (St. Cloud State)

Round 6, 165th overall: forward Johan Sodergran (Linkoping, SHL)

Round 6, 175th overall: goaltender Jacob Ingham (Mississauga Steelheads, OHL)