LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings announced that they have agreed to terms on a two-year entry level contract with goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji, who played in the ECHL with Bakersfield in 2004-05 and with Cincinnati in 2002-03.
Selected in the eighth round (238th overall) by Los Angeles in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the 22-year-old Fukufuji led Bakersfield in 2004-05 with 44 appearances, 27 wins, three shutouts and a goals-against average of 2.48 while finishing second on the team with a save percentage of .919. The first-ever Japanese player drafted by the Kings, Fukufuji tied for fifth in the league in wins and helped the Condors advance to the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Born in Tokyo, Fukufuji became the first Japanese-born goaltender to start an ECHL game with Cincinnati, winning his North American debut with a 3-2 shootout win at Johnstown on February 7, 2003. He finished the season with a record of 4-3-0 and had a goals-against average of 3.13 and a save percentage of .915 in nine games with Cincinnati.
He played in 2001-02 with the Kokudo Bunnies of the Japan Hockey League posting a goals-against average of 2.94. Fukufuji has played the past four years as a member of the Japanese National Team.