The Los Angeles Kings went into the 2018 NHL Entry Draft looking to shore up their depth for the future. With seven picks over six rounds, the Kings front office went to work bringing on the future of the franchise.
With the the draft split into two days, the Kings made just one selection during round one on the first day. The rest of their picks occurred on day two.
That amount of time can lead to speculation of trading picks or moving up in rounds.
With the 20th pick, the Kings stuck to their guns and used it to pick Rasmus Kupari of the Finnish Professional League. The 18-year-old Kupari is the type of pick the Kings have been making lately, a forward with an emphasis on skill and speed. After the pick the Kings front office compared his skating to that of Adrian Kempe, one of the fastest skaters on the roster.
Welcome to LA, Rasmus Kupari! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/RiIMjJORcJ
— LA Kings (@LAKings) June 23, 2018
Kupari scored 14 points in 39 regular season games for Karpart in Finland. It was his first season and he will likely return to continue developing.
Day two started with the big free agent acquisition of Ilya Kovalchuk meeting a present need. But that didn’t mean the Kings weren’t done making picks for the future.
With their second pick the Kings chose Akil Thomas of the Ontario Hockey League, again the Kings went for a skilled forward. Thomas an 18 year old center scored 68 points for the Niagra Ice Dogs ranking second on the team for points.
Kings Draft Picks
The Kings rounded out their day with the following picks:
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)
The Kings final tally came down to five forwards and two goaltenders. It was obvious that the Kings were looking for prospects that would help them with their offense and, of course, speed.
— Jamaal Gonzalez-Artis (@KingsPapa1015) June 23, 2018
The Kings strategy was emphasized by their Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti amateur scout:
“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 Yannetti. “We filled a lot of those needs today.”
That should make Kings fans happy. It looks like the organization is transitioning to the speed and skill game that has taken over the NHL. All the draft picks may not pan out the way the Kings want. However, if they do the future looks bright for the organization.