Highly skilled playmaking center with top-six upside. Elite skater who owns very soft hands and great vision on the ice.
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June 2022 – Among the deep crop of prospects in the system, Kupari is an older one of that group despite being just 22 years old. The Kings first round pick in 2018 has taken a couple of seasons to break into the North American game and finally gave Kings fans a taste of his potential this season. Posting just 13 points across 57 games, the offence and consistency weren’t all there for the forward early in the season. After a demotion to the Reign in January, Kupari found his game and earned a callup in mid-March, and even got to suit up for five playoff games, stepping into the fourth line centre slot.
Still, at 6-1 and just 189 pounds at 22 years old, Kupari still has room to grow even further. Kupari is a skilled player and will need to lean on his strengths to take another step in his development. If he does, watch for his stock to rise and for him to become a regular in the NHL lineup. Sean Crocker
March 2021 – After a long rehabilitation process Kupari has been able to finally get back onto the ice. The Finn is now 21-years-old, but has had limited experience in pro hockey because of the ACL injury. He started this season off with a bang with the Ontario Reign, putting up nine points through his first eight games. His hot start has earned him a call up to the NHL which is great to see. He is a player who should be able to bring speed and skill into the lineup and has the potential to be a high-end to elite playmaker. With teams having the luxury of taxi squads this year, Kupari will likely be up and down between the Kings and the Reign all season long. Regardless of where he is playing this will be a big step in Kupari’s development, especially getting games and practice reps with the NHL club. He should slot into the Kings bottom six forward group down the middle, and be in the Reign’s top-six when in the minors. Julian Mongillo
January 2020 – Kupari was named to Team Finland for the 2020 World Junior Championships and carried high expectations with him entering the tournament, after winning a gold medal back in 2019. This was the centers second year and was the team’s top centerman. Unfortunately for the young Finn, his tournament was cut short after suffering a significant knee injury during Finland’s first game. Kupari would go on to miss the remainder of the tournament which saw Finland finish fourth. Kupari was returned to the Ontario Reign and diagnosed with a torn ACL and will require surgery and also miss the remainder of the AHL season. The center will finish his first pro season with eight points in 27 appearances. Julian Mongillo
January 2019 – Kupari was named to Team Finland for the 2019 World Junior Championships and assumed a much larger role than he had in previous tournaments due to his experience and absence of fellow countrymen Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Kupari played heavy minutes as the number one center for the Finns against top defense pairs and centers of opposing teams, and was flanked by a combination of Aarne Talvitie, Aleksi Heponiemi, and Nashville Predators prospect Eeli Tolvanen. He played in many big game situations throughout the tournament including being a part of the number one power play unit, finishing the tournament with one goal and four assists in a total of seven games to help lead bring Finland to a gold medal finish. This was a positive showing for the dynamic young center and he proved that he can contribute on both ends of the ice and displayed great versatility. Kupari will return back to his Finnish Liiga team Kärpät likely for the remainder of the season to continue to grow his game. Julian Mongillo
November 2018 – After being drafted 20th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in June, Kupari signed an ELC on July 13th. He’s currently playing on loan with Kärpät of the Finnish Liiga, where he’s started the season with 13 points, including 6 goals, in 18 games. Kupari recently played for Finland in the U20 Four Nations tournament at the beginning of November. He was also a part of Finland’s gold medal-winning team at April’s U18 World Championships, where he had three points, including two goals, in four games. It seems likely he will once again represent Finland at the upcoming World Junior Championships. Hannah Stuart
March 2018 – Kupari is a highly skilled, playmaking center. He is undersized, but is a strong skater with a high hockey IQ and hockey sense that makes him a dangerous offensive player and a reliable defensive player. Kupari started his draft year with a solid showing for Finland at the Ivan Hlinka scoring two goals and seven points in four games. He started the season playing at the pro level in Liiga despite being drafted by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at the CHL Import Draft, but after struggling somewhat with 12 points in 35 games was subsequently loaned to Hermes in the Mestis. Don’t be discouraged by this apparent set back as an undersized 17-year-old, undersized player it simply means Kupari needs more development time before he is pro ready. Kupari was also included on the Finnish World Junior team as an underage player, but was held pointless despite displaying his high skill set. Kupari has a high ceiling, and drawing comparisons to countryman Sebastian Aho gives you an indication of his upside, but he is a long term investment. Peter Harling
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