What can the Winnipeg Jets expect from newly acquired Gabe Vilardi and Rasmus Kupari

Gabriel Vilardi and Rasmus Kupari's time with the Los Angeles Kings was defined by adversity.

The Winnipeg Jets are betting they'll turn that adversity into potential after the trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Vilardi, the 11th overall pick of 2017, missed almost the entire 2018-19 campaign due to a back injury and a few other games over the past few years. The 2022-23 season was the first in which he played a stable, high-usage role in an NHL lineup. It was also the first season where he started to score at a level that reflected his ability.

Kupari also lost some development time to injury; his first season in North America was cut in half by an ACL tear. But it's really his limited role in the NHL that keeps an aura of uncertainty around his upside. The 19th overall pick played, on average, less than 10 minutes per game at 5-on-5 over his last two NHL seasons, a remarkably low total for such a young, developing player.

Similar to Vilardi, when the Kings sent Kupari back to the AHL and gave him more minutes, he instantly became one of the best scorers on the Ontario Reign, if not the best.

Considering the limited time both players spent on NHL ice, their strong AHL performances, and the injuries that delayed their development, both players may have more untapped potential than a typical player of the same age.

How much potential do they possess? Let's find out.

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This article is about:
NHL Los Angeles Kings Ontario Reign Winnipeg Jets AHL Rasmus Kupari Gabriel Vilardi
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