The Winnipeg Jets’ 2020-21 season was full of ups and downs and ended with a second-round sweep at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. In this series, we’ll take a look back on the season, player by player, and grade their individual performances with an eye toward their future with the team.
Andrew Copp had a mediocre season in 2019-20, where he registered 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 63 games. He entered this season with one year left on his contract and was determined to prove that he deserved a raise. He had a quick start to the year, collecting 10 points in 10 games, you could tell early that this was going to be a special year for him.
Best Offensive Season of His Career
Copp mainly played on the third line with Adam Lowry and Mason Appleton. Together, they were a formidable trio that in some instances was unstoppable. Although he finished fifth on the Jets’ roster for points, Copp has much to be proud of. He broke career records for goals, assists, and points, setting new career highs in each category. He finished the season with an impressive 39 points (15 goals, 24 assists) in 55 games.
On March 25th, Copp had the game of his life when he scored four goals on four shots in a game against the Vancouver Canucks. He became just the sixth player in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers history to record such a milestone.
Head coach Paul Maurice had high praise for the 26-year-old earlier in the season: “He’s really worked at his offensive game. He’s spent an awful lot of time on the ice handling pucks, taking passes. I think his relationship with Mark Scheifele has helped that. I think that they spend a lot of time working on those things.”
Special Teams Contribution
Copp spent a majority of his time on the second power-play unit, where he was able to net six goals and was one of the top power-play contributors for the Jets.
He has the potential to make a jump to the first power-play unit come next season. He is known for having an extremely detail-orientated game and excellent positioning, which was on full display this past season.
The Jets swept the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs. During that series, Copp finished with two assists, but he played a massive role in game four, when he logged an astounding 36:25 of ice time, helping the Jets beat the Oilers in overtime. The Jets met up with the Montreal Canadiens in the next round and were dismantled in four games and eliminated. Like his fellow teammates, Copp was invisible during that series and scored zero points.
The Future of Andrew Copp
Due to the Jets’ priority of re-signing Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, Copp described his 2019 contract negotiations as being “very difficult.” (from ‘JETS SNAPSHOTS: ‘Nothing off the table’ for Copp in negotiation of a new contract with Jets,’ Winnipeg Sun, 06/10/2021). While he is a restricted free agent this year, there should be no issues during contract negotiations between the Jets and Copp after coming off an explosive season.
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Next season, he will be able to make an even bigger splash with all the right tools in his arsenal. His ice time has increased over the last few seasons, and I expect that to continue into next season, given his recent performance. Despite Copp and the Jets’ third line dominating much of the season, the line-ups could look quite different next year.
Copp was on the second line with Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler during the last few games. We might see this combination more often next season. In crucial game situations, he will remain a key player. He will also likely have a larger role on power plays and penalty-killing units. He was arguably the most improved forward on the Jets’ roster this year, and his game only continues to improve. Next season, the 26-year-old will enter his seventh season with the Jets.
Final Grade: B+
Born and raised in Kamloops B.C. and a die hard fan of the Kamloops Blazers, hockey has always been apart of my life. Now, I am looking to get into the sports media world and make it a career. I will be covering the Winnipeg Jets for The Hockey Writers.