The Winnipeg Jets have come to terms with their final restricted free agent of the offseason. Having been through the arbitration process once before, forward Andrew Copp was able to dodge that experience in agreeing to a one-year, $3.64 million contract through the 2021-22 season.
Although initially hoping to land a longer-term on the deal, the 27-year-old forward is satisfied with the contract, which will see his status shift to being an unrestricted free agent upon its conclusion following the coming season.
“Our first conversation happened in June and they kind of asked what we wanted term-wise and we were thinking in that four or five-year range,” Copp said of negotiations. “And then, with how the expansion draft set out and with the trades that we made, the cap space went away pretty quickly. So, one year was the agreed upon term because that’s what was basically available and from there, it was pretty easy. Yeah, I would have liked to maybe get a few more years, but I got a good contract, I’m happy with it.”
Never having filled that star player role, Copp has been a depth piece in Winnipeg since his selection by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. And as he says, he knows his role and continues to put in the work to improve every year.
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“I have just concentrated on getting better each and every day, trying to prove that I belong as an important part of the team and a core part of the team,” he said. “I feel like I was able to contribute in a lot of different areas last year. I have been working hard in the offseason to continue to improve in all those areas and improve my finishing like we’ve talked about for a number of years now. I feel like I’m still getting better and still have better years ahead of me, so hopefully, I can build off last year and control what I can control.”
Last year was certainly a record year for the centreman-turned-winger. Balancing trades, injuries, taxi squads, COVID-19, and a shortened season, he managed to get into 55 of the team’s 56 games – a career-low in terms of games played. However, in those 55 games, Copp set career-highs in nearly every statistical category. From goals (15), to assists (24), to points (39) to penalty minutes (20) he put up big-time numbers for a team that he believes is destined for greatness, especially after the busy offseason that has been had.
“I’m happy with the improvements that the team made in the offseason, he said. “Obviously, a few key losses but a few key additions as well. We think that we’re a team that can go all the way this year. So, I’m really excited to be back and really excited to see what kind of team we’ve got moving forward here… I think we’ve got a really well-rounded defensive corps now and depth back there, too. So we’re really excited about that, and obviously, we feel like we’ve got one of the best goalies in the league. Our forward group has been pretty solid now for a number of years. We like the makeup of the team.”
Although Thursday was the rewarding day in which the pen was put to paper and the bank account saw a significant uptick, Copp knows that the real reward will come during the coming season, as he looks to build upon what was a sensational 2020-21 campaign.
“For me, it’s just continuing to get better,” he said of his focus for the new season. “I feel like I’ve gotten better every season that I’ve been in the NHL, and I want this year to be the same. I felt like I built on the season before last year and just want to continue to build. A lot of that comes from success from the team. We get to the second round and feel like you’re a big part of that, and now we feel like we’re poised to hopefully go even further. You look at Tampa and some of the guys that were there, just winning just solves everything. That’s my goal is to come back and get as far as we can and win and just see where the chips fall after that. I’m not too worried about stats or anything like that. I’m just worried about helping the team win, and hopefully just trying to prove my worth and continue to do that and continue to improve.”
Ep 13: Vigneault Canned, Canucks Make Moves, Latest Headlinesby Full Press Coverage on December 8, 2021 at 5:03 pm
Mike, Jim, and Chris […]