from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The contract was the biggest one handed out by general manager Steve Yzerman his four offseasons as Detroit Red Wings general manager, and with that came significant expectations.
Expectations that, one year later, are leading Andrew Copp into the offseason with a mission: "To prove that I'm a top-six player."
Those were Copp's words in his end-of-season availability, days after he wrapped his first year in red and white with nine goals and 33 assists in 82 games.
"I think that my defensive game has always been there; penalty kill, I feel like that’s been really consistent throughout my whole career," Copp said. "I think I took some offensive strides over the last few years. Didn’t score as many goals this year as I would have liked, but produced pretty well five-on-five and had a career year assist-wise."
Yzerman signed Copp, 28, last July for $28.125 million over five seasons, which works out to $5.625 million annually. At the time, Yzerman said Copp "filled an important need," which was a second-line center. The Wings had tried Pius Suter there the year before, that that didn't pan out. That led to committing to Copp, an Ann Arbor native coming off a career highs in goals (21) and points (53) in 72 games (split between the Winnipeg Jets and the New York Rangers, who he joined at the 2022 trade deadline).
Copp ended up needing core surgery, which prevented him from participating in training camp. He gutted it out and was in the lineup on opening night, but missing camp and exhibition games was a setback for a player new to a team that was new to the systems implemented by a new head coach.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
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