Andrew Copp and the Winnipeg Jets will not be going down the road once travelled.
The veteran forward avoided the possibility of a second arbitration hearing with the hockey team by signing a one year contract for US$3.64-million. The 27 year old Ann Arbor, Michigan native is coming off a career season of 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points in just 55 games during the pandemic shortened season.
Copp’s signing leaves Winnipeg in a position of having to trim about US$500,000 from their current roster. Just the day before, the Jets agreed to a four year, US$23.5-million deal with defenseman Neal Pionk that carries an Average Annual Value of US$5.875-million.
It is likely defenseman Sami Niku will be waived to take his US@725,000 off the payroll.
The 24-year-old Finnish blueliner’s days with the organization seem to be numbered with the off-season additions of Brenden Dillon and Nate Schmidt, not to mention the emergence of Logan Stanley, Ville Heinola, and Dylan Samberg, who have all moved ahead of the one-time AHL Defenseman of the Year on the Jets depth chart.
Another consideration to clear off some much-needed cap space would be to have Nathan Beaulieu at least start the season with the Manitoba Moose. But those decisions are all about a month-to-six-weeks away from needing to be made.
Copp and the Jets were scheduled to go behind closed doors on Aug. 26, just a little over two years after the two sides had originally butted heads in what was a contentious process on July 20/19 where the arbitrator eventually awarded the player a two-year deal with an AAV of US$2.28-million.
Copp will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
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