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NHL Rumors: Rangers 'out on' Andrew Copp After Contract Talks Ahead of Free Agency

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 12, 2022

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New York Rangers are reportedly not expected to retain center Andrew Copp ahead of the start of NHL free agency on Wednesday.

Arthur Staple of The Athletic reported Tuesday the Rangers are "out on" Copp after nothing materialized from contract talks over the weekend. Staple noted the Rangers are now expected to look elsewhere for a No. 2 center behind Mika Zibanejad.

The Rangers acquired Copp in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets last season, and he played a sizable role in helping the Blueshirts reach the Eastern Conference Final.

Prior to the trade, the 28-year-old Copp was playing well in Winnipeg, recording 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points in 56 games, but he raised his level of play significantly in the Big Apple.

In 16 regular-season games as a member of the Rangers, Copp had eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points, giving him a total of 21 goals and 32 assists for 53 points on the year, all of which were career highs.

Copp produced during the playoffs as well, with six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 20 games.

The former University of Michigan standout played in games across eight seasons in Winnipeg, mostly as a bottom-six player who would contribute around 10 goals and 25 points.

Things took a turn during the 2020-21 season, though, when Copp set what were then career highs with 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points in 55 games.

That left fans and observers to wonder what he could do in close to a full slate of games, and he answered those questions last season with career highs across the board once again.

Another underrated part of Copp's game that teams will undoubtedly covet in free agency is his faceoff ability. He has won better than 50 percent of his draws in each of the past five seasons, including 53.2 percent last season, winning a career-high 377 faceoffs.

With Copp hitting free agency, the Rangers are light on centers who are under contract, especially those who can play in the top six. Aside from Zibanejad, the only players on the Rangers roster who played center regularly in the NHL last season are Filip Chytil and Barclay Goodrow.

Along with Copp, forwards Ryan Strome, Tyler Motte, Frank Vatrano, Greg McKegg and Kevin Rooney are all set to become unrestricted free agents on Wednesday.

If re-signing Copp isn't in the cards, other free-agent centers the Rangers could consider include Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux, Patrice Bergeron, Max Domi, Vincent Trocheck and Nazem Kadri, among others.

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