Two summers ago, the Jets surprisingly went to salary arbitration with forward Andrew Copp following a then career-best 28-point campaign and he was ultimately awarded a two-year deal with an AAV of $2.28MM. The 26-year-old will be in need of a new deal this offseason in his final season of RFA eligibility but told reporters, including Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun, that what happened then won’t have any bearing on negotiations now. Copp is certainly in the drivers’ seat when it comes to these discussions. He’s coming off a 39-point season and is a year away from being eligible for unrestricted free agency so if early talks don’t go well, he can just file for arbitration, still walk away with a fair-sized raise, and hit the open market in 2022.
More from Winnipeg:
- The lack of NHL action for defenseman Ville Heinola raised some eyebrows this season but Wyman notes in a separate column that it wasn’t due to the team wanting his contract to slide another season. That ultimately happened as he suited up just five times in 2020-21, allowing for another automatic one-year extension; he’ll still have three years on his entry-level deal next season. Head coach Paul Maurice indicated some depth on the left side of the back end and a need to get faster as the reasons that the 20-year-old was rarely able to get into the lineup.
- Jets forward Bryan Little missed all of this season due to a perforated eardrum and while he hasn’t retired, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff stated as his end-of-season press conference (video link) that he remains unavailable and that “there are no medical opinions that say that he should play”. The 33-year-old has three years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of just under $5.3MM and assuming he’s unable to return, he’ll spend that time on LTIR as he did this season.