The Detroit Red Wings added depth down the middle by signing center Andrew Copp -- a Michigan native-- to a five-year, $28.1 million deal.
"I think it's a chance to grow with the team that they have there right now," Copp said on ESPN's "The Point."
Acquired from the Winnipeg Jets at the NHL trade deadline, Copp was an immediate fit on the second line for the New York Rangers and flourished playing with ace passer Artemi Panarin, both on even strength and occasionally on the power play.
He had eight goals and 18 points in just 16 regular-season games for the Rangers and was rewarded for his play with a generous average ice time of 17 minutes, 1 second on a team loaded with high-end forwards and often not enough minutes to go around.
Copp has a clear tie-in to Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba, a former teammate in Winnipeg who also played with Copp growing up on youth teams in Michigan, and that familiarity appeared to help his transition to New York.
During a second-round, seven-game victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, in fact, New York coach Gerard Gallant described Copp's addition as "huge," saying that he and forward Frank Vatrano, another late-season add from the Florida Panthers, were "putting the puck in the net for us" and "doing all the little things."
In the postseason, he finished with six goals and 14 points in 20 games, as the Rangers bowed out in the Eastern Conference finals, losing in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Copp finished the regular season just over the 200-point threshold (202) for his career, and his top season in goals came in 2020-21 with the Jets (15).
The Rangers replaced him quickly Wednesday by signing former Cane Vincent Trocheck.