What to Expect From Andrew Copp This Season With the Red Wings?

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The Detroit Red Wings brought in some help from Ann Arbor in free agency.

The Detroit Red Wings spent plenty of money on the first day of free agency. General manager, Steve Yzerman did a great job at identifying the Red Wings’ biggest needs and giving out money to players to fill glaring holes on the roster.

One of the biggest needs going into the offseason for the Red Wings was to add another top-six forward. One that is responsible defensively, and can chip in offensively by helping their offensive-minded forwards be creative while they do the dirty work. Andrew Copp fits this description more than any other free agent on the market, and Yzerman decided to give him a five-year contract with an average annual value (AAV) of $5.65 million per year.

Copp is 28 years old and is coming off of the best season of his career. He started the season with the Winnipeg Jets before being dealt to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. Copp was a vital part of the Rangers’ playoff run that brought them to the third round and similar to any team in the eastern conference the last three seasons, they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Copp Brings Two-Way Presence to Red Wings Lineup

Not only will Copp fill a need in the Wings’ top six, but he will bring a two-way presence to the lineup that is currently missing. The second-line center was a huge need going into free agency, and Copp will be able to thrive in that role next to complementary offensive players.

He can more than hold his own offensively. During his tenure as a Ranger, he scored 18 points in 16 regular season games, and 14 points in 20 playoff games. He scored 21 goals throughout the regular season, which was the first time he had broken the 20-goal plateau in his career. He found immediate chemistry with star winger Artemi Panarin. The Red Wings will hope that he can find that chemistry with one of their young, up-and-coming forwards and create a special offensive connection that could last for the next 5 seasons.

Copp is versatile enough to play top-line minutes at even strength, on the powerplay, and the penalty kill. During the 2021-22 season, the Red Wings penalty kill was successful only 73.8% of the time. Copp’s defensive presence will play a huge role in bringing that number back up to around the NHL average or better. When Copp was on the ice for the Rangers in the regular season, he and his line-mates outscored their opponents 16-7 (69.57%). He was able to let Panarin shine in an offensive role, all while playing responsible defensively and being one of the most impactful players on the ice.

Copp Will be a Vital Part of the Red Wings Success Next Season

Copp is just one part of a revamped forward core. Yzerman identified that the Wings’ forward depth was costing them games last season, and he addressed that need on the first day of free agency.

David Perron and Dominik Kubalik were brought in to play vital roles within the middle-six of the lineup. Ben Chariot and Olli Maatta were brought in to strengthen the left side of the defence core. Before free agency started, forward depth and left-defence were the two biggest needs for the Wings, and they successfully acquired them. Copp will slide in nicely to the second-line center role, and be a big part of the success that the Red Wings will or won’t have next season.

Copp is a 6-foot-1, 206-pound forward who specializes at the defensive end of the ice. The Red Wings have a great chance to contend during their two-year contention window in which Calder trophy winner, Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond are on their rookie contracts. If Yzerman can spend money wisely over this offseason and the next, the Red Wings will be back in the contention conversation very shortly.

There is still work to be done this offseason. The Red Wings have just over $10 million in cap space and could use another defenceman to help round out the defence core. The Red Wings also acquired goaltender Ville Husso from the St. Louis Blues to pair with Alex Nedeljkovic in the net. With all these moves made by Steve Yzerman, the Red Wings are well on their way to contending for the playoffs next season. The roster is young and will need to take some steps to become a contender, but looking at the roster on paper, the playoffs is a goal that is well within reach.

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