Detroit Red Wings: Is Andrew Copp the third-line center moving forward?

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The Detroit Red Wings offense of the next few years could get interesting, especially after Steve Yzerman finally began shelling out some money to kick the rebuild a few steps down the road. He made several off-season additions before the team hit the ice last fall.

While the Detroit Red Wings battled and looked like they would make a playoff push, they ultimately settled as sellers. Forward  Andrew Copp was one of the players the Red Wings brought in this off-season.

Copp joined the Red Wings this summer on a five-year, $28.125 million contract. The contract carries a $5.625 million annual value, as per CapFriendly. So far, things have been a bit underwhelming for the centerman.

He was expected to be a solid center on the second line and help be an anchor in the top six. That is not exactly how things have panned out. At times, even Michael Rasmussen looked like he was a better fit for the second-line spot than Copp. The reality is Copp may not be that top-six guy.

Detroit Red Wings forward Andrew Copp could disappoint.

There’s still a ton of time left on Copp’s contract, with four more seasons left. He could rebound well in 2023-24 and start to pan out a bit better, but there’s likely a more disappointing outcome.

The Red Wings forward has played in 68 games, with eight goals and 29 assists for 37 total points. This may be better than he has shown in all his season with the Winnipeg Jets except one season. Then in 2021-22, Copp was traded and had a career-best performance between his time with the Jets and New York Rangers, posting 53 points over 72 games with 21 goals and 32 assists.

But the Red Wings have yet to see him get his offense firing on all cylinders as it was last year. The frightening reality is that this contract could turn into one where they are paying Copp to be a bottom-six forward with defense as a strong suit.

After all, he’s smooth up the middle as a center and can help out on the penalty kill, so there’s value there, but he may not be the solid two-way centerman some hoped he would be after signing in Detroit.

There’s a lot of time left on his deal, but after the 2022-23 season he produced, there’s room to improve, and for Copp, it sounds like he might wind up being a third-line center in years to come. It will be interesting to see how this contract looks in two to three years, but it could be more of a bust.

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