This season has been quite the rollercoaster for Andrew Copp. After suiting up for 77 NHL games in his rookie season, Copp started his 2016-2017 campaign in the AHL, with the Manitoba Moose. Since the start of the year, the former Michigan Wolverine captain has made two pit-stops with the Winnipeg Jets. Copp’s second and current stint with the club has all-but-guaranteed that his stay with the Jets will be a permanent one.
During the first-half of this season, Copp had capitalized on the opportunities he was given at the NHL level. While producing well in a fourth-line centre role and in middle-six roles on the wing, Copp showed he could play in many different facets. But despite his bright spots, Copp was sent back down to the Moose on December 28th. The demotion didn’t deter the 22 year-olds confidence in his abilities. “I’ve played more than 100 NHL games now, I know I’m an NHL Player.” said Copp after being sent to the Moose on December 28th. “(Being sent to the Moose) doesn’t change that”
In his current tenure with the Jets, Copp has left little doubt that he belongs in the NHL.
After being buried on the teams fourth line with players like Brandon Tanev and Chris Thorburn, Copp was provided a chance to shine in an increased role. With injuries to Mathieu Perreault and Drew Stafford, the Ann Arbor Michigan native was promoted to the Jets second line alongside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. Since that advancement, Copp has notched six points in his last eight games. One can argue that Copp’s performance is purely a product of playing with Scheifele and Wheeler. But then again, when Perreault and Stafford suited up beside those two, their production didn’t mirror the same pedigree.
Copp’s offensive input isn’t totally unexpected.
It’s easy to forget that at the end of 2015-2016, Copp was thriving alongside Nic Petan and Joel Armia on the teams third line and finished off last season with four points in his final five games. When Copp has been provided with an opportunity to be summoned from the teams fourth line, he’s excelled.
— GameTimeArt (@GameTimeArt) January 25, 2017
While Copp may not be in the Jets top-six for the remainder of the season, the Jets need to supply him with better line-mates going forward. But then again, keeping Copp in the Jets top-six provides the Jets with an interesting lineup.
Jets current lineup
With Copp riding shotgun on the teams second line, Mathieu Perreault drops to the Jets fourth line and with Drew Stafford returning from injury, it seems as though Nic Petan finally has some component line mates who can keep pace with his abilities. This lineup also boasts a more balanced attack. With the teams fourth line as a sheltered offensive line, the teams top-six is loaded with talent and the Jets third unit serves as a hard working unit on both ends of the ice.
The emergence of Copp provides the Jets with a unique lineup and a pleasant surprise from number 9, who proved his value at the NHL-level. Not only has Copp solidified the fact he won’t be returning to the Moose, but furthermore, that he’s more than just a fourth line centre.