Detroit Hockey Now’s Red Wings Review series is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2022-23 Detroit Red Wings season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the recently-completed campaign, as well as what the future holds for them in Detroit. Today, we feature center Andrew Copp.
2022-23 totals (GP-G-A-PT): 82-9-33-42
Contract Status: Signed for 2026-27 season at an AAV of $5.625 million
Signed as an unrestricted free agent for five seasons last summer, Andrew Copp would wind up delivering what was expected of him from Red Wings management. However, it was a marriage that got off to a rocky start. Copp underwent offseason core surgery and wound up missing all of training camp and the NHL preseason.
— NHL (@NHL) February 24, 2023
However, despite starting out with such a handicap, he was able to play in all 82 regular-season games for Detroit.
“That was battling through some stuff,” Copp said. “It felt like it was definitely not easy and it was only the second time in my career I’ve been able to do it. Anytime anybody can play all 82 it’s impressive. I took a lot of pride in that.”
2022-23 Red Wings Highlights
From a personal highlight reel moment, there was Copp’s overtime game winner against the San Jose Sharks. It was a bang-bang play with Michael Rasmussen, a duo that was truly clicking together prior to Rasmussen’s season-ending injury.
— Ryan Hana (@RyanHanaWWP) January 25, 2023
“As the year went on I thought he had a bigger and bigger impact,” Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman said of Copp. “He was very good on our penalty kill. He’s a very good defensive player.”
Copp became an essential part of the Detroit penalty kill. He would finish fifth on the club with 42 points and third overall with a career-high 33 assists.
2022-23 Red Wings Lowlight
On the flip side of Copp’s high distribution output in terms of assists was a dropff from 27 goals to nine.
“He signed a five-year contract, you know what his AAV is,” Yzerman said. “With that comes expectations, at least production wise. You can debate whether he met those expectations. I would say in fairness to him he got off to a bit of a slow start. He had a surgical procedure during the offseason which delayed his ability to train and to skate.”
Copp also knows what the expectations were for him in terms of production and doesn’t shy away from the fact that he fell short of that objective.
“Two years ago I scored 27 goals in regular-season and postseason play,” he said. “So nine this year to me was a little bit of a letdown. I think it was a little bit of a factor of the injury and I got pass happy.”
What Does His Detroit Future Hold?
Healthy, Copp will be able to train full-time this summer and is figuring on being a much better contributor from the outset in 2023-24. “I’ll be able to do things at 100% this summer,” Copp said.
Yzerman believes that the Red Wings will see an even better version of Copp next season, but adds that there was a lot to like about this season’s variety as well.
“I really like his hockey sense,” Yzerman said. “I like his durability, his flexibility as far as being able to play all three forward positions.
“Ultimately, I didn’t necessarily sign him for his scoring ability. I signed him for his all-around play, his flexibility. I’m pleased with the year that he had. If I’m penciling guys in for X number of goals next year, I think I’ll pencil him in for more than the nine he had. Is it 12, 15, 20? I’m not really sure but overall I think Andrew had a very good season for us.
“He contributed in a lot of subtle ways that really don’t necessarily wow you. But he is a very good player and a very useful player. I’m very happy that we have him on the team.”