2022-23 Team: Pelicans U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
Date of Birth: August 8, 2005
Place of Birth: Lahti, Finland
Height: 6-foot-2, Weight: 196 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First Year Eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters): 22nd
- TSN/Bob McKenzie: 79th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 86th
- TSN/Craig Button: 69th
- THW (Baracchini): 96th
Rasmus Kumpulainen is a big, two-way centerman who competes well and is comfortable using his large frame to win battles along the boards and cause chaos around the net. Kumpulainen had a good regular season in the top Finnish junior league this year before making a name for himself with Team Finland at the U18 World Championships in May.
Kumpulainen has a decent shot at this point, mainly due to the power his frame allows him to put behind it, although he is also skilled at finding space and time away from the puck gives him a better chance of getting pucks on net when his teammates find him. He was great defensively this year, though some of that can be attributed to his size advantage over much of his junior competition, though his physical habits and stick-checking will benefit him when he eventually plays up a league of two.
The areas of the ice that he does the most damage are the boards where his skill with the puck and overall strength are on display and in front of the net where he often seals the shoulder of a defender and establishes inside position so he can make plays in close when rebounds pop out. He supports his defenders well when they pinch or carry the puck on the rush, and positions himself well when defending both off the rush and in zone.
Kumpulainen’s biggest weakness at this point is his skating which is fine against junior competition, but will need improvements to be an asset of any kind against professional opponents. His playmaking is also a bit pedestrian, highlighting a lack of ability to spot and hit tougher passing lanes.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
With 34 points in 41 games this season, Kumpulainen was sixth in league scoring amongst U18 players, showing enough scoring touch to be an intriguing NHL prospect. He also had five points in five games for Finland at the U18s, though he had enough scoring chances in the tournament that those totals undersell his value to Finland.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Rasmus Kumpulainen – NHL Draft Projection
Kumpulainen improved his draft stock considerably at the U18s, showing his potential as a big, two-way center who plays a bruising physical style. That’s a toolkit that NHL GM’s love, though his offensive skill isn’t likely to wow anyone in the NHL so he probably won’t be selected in the first two rounds. I’d guess he goes in the third round, likely in the 70-80 range on day two of the NHL Draft.
“Kumpulainen is a good-sized center with some skill. He’s able to create around the net well and in high traffic areas generally.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (2023 NHL Draft ranking: Connor Bedard leads Corey Pronman’s tiers of the top 142 prospects, May 30, 2023)
“Kumpulainen’s ability to create havoc in front of the net, put muscle behind a shot and play a decent two-way game should earn him some attention.” – Steven Ellis, The Daily Faceoff
“Kumpulainen is a reliable center at both ends of the ice, and definitely has a scoring upside, too. He uses both his decently-sized frame and his long stick well on the forecheck, and once he steals the puck he has the vision to distribute the puck to his linemates to create scoring chances. He also utilizes his body well along the boards, where he is very hard to knock off the puck.” – Rasmus Tornqvist, FC Hockey
- Large and mature physical frame
- Great physical play around net and along the boards
- Heavy shot both with time and on one-timers
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Continue to improve agility and top-end speed
- Work on static playmaking (passing from standstill in the offensive zone)
Kumpulainen’s skating makes me think he’s unlikely to be a high-end contributor in the NHL someday, and his ability to make smart plays at high speeds (also known as “pace”) is lacking at the moment. However, he is on the young end of the draft class (August ‘05 birthday) and already has a pro frame. If Kumpulainen can improve his skating a bit, I think his shot and defensive details will make him a solid bottom-six center in the NHL, including consistent minutes as a penalty killer.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 2.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 4/10, Defense – 6/10
Awards & Achievements
- 2022-23 Hlinka Gretzky Cup Bronze Medal