Rumors started swirling this morning from NHL insiders such as Elliotte Friedman, Bob McKenzie, and Darren Dreger regarding the Red Wings’ interest in Copp. Wednesday afternoon, Darren Dreger of TSN reported that Copp has agreed to a five-year, $5.625 million average-annual-value.
The Rangers acquired Copp at the NHL trade deadline, and that is when the whole league took notice. The Ann Arbor native just had the best season of his career in 2021-22. In 72 games split between Winnipeg and New York, Copp scored 21 goals and added 32 assists. Copp was a big part of the Rangers’ run to the Eastern Conference final, scoring six goals and eight assists in 20 games.
While Copp fit in nicely alongside star-forward Artemi Panarin, the Rangers are tight to the salary cap and had to make a tough decision to let him walk to free agency.
Copp has the potential to be a perfect fit in Detroit. He just turned 28 five days ago, putting him into the same age bracket as core members Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi. Copp also can play all three forward positions up and down a lineup, which is valuable to a young, up-and-coming team like Detroit.
Copp has developed later in his career from a defensive bottom-six winger into a top-six power forward who has a knack for scoring big goals. Copp is also reliable in the defensive side of the game, spending big minutes on the penalty kill and having positive analytics.
Also, already having a history of playing with high-level offensive players such as Artemi Panarin and Mark Scheifele, he may be a nice fit with Jakub Vrana, who is poised for a breakout season.
I could see head coach Derek Lalonde lining Copp up as the second-line center to start the season. But as the season progresses, maybe Joe Veleno develops and is ready for more responsibility higher in the lineup, and Copp can shift to the wing.