Hextall on Hockey: Andrew Copp making most of Jets role

Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Copp (9) celebrates his goal against the St. Louis Blues during second period NHL action in Winnipeg on Saturday, February 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Andrew Copp is a pro’s pro.

What does that mean?

It means the Winnipeg Jets forward puts in the effort to make himself and those around him better, while doing it with class.

To illustrate his commitment, Copp has spent the last four summers working on his individual skills. He trains with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler in the off-season – a regimen that is eat, sleep, breathe hockey.

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In addition, he’s smart — beyond his hockey sense, he’s book smart — an intellectual.

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This summer, the 26-year-old was part of the NHLPA committee involved in CBA negotiations and the Return to Play protocols.

Copp has layers – he’s not one-dimensional as a player or as an individual.

That’s why it’s no surprise to anyone in the Jets dressing room that Copp is producing. Not only his offensive output — nine points in five games to reside just outside the NHL’s top 10 in scoring — but also on the defensive side of the puck.

Playing with Nik Ehlers and Paul Stastny – or any linemate for that matter – they’re aware that Copp will be the defensive conscience of the line.

His linemates are free to flaunt their skill, as they know Copp is there to defend.

That selflessness is being rewarded with offence, which has shifted the spotlight in Copp’s direction.

But what truly makes Copp the ultimate pro’s pro is the fact he doesn’t pout.

Copp has quietly petitioned the Jets coaching staff for a larger role — specifically that of second-line centre.

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The off-season addition of Stastny and the trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois doesn’t lend itself to that happening any time soon. Which makes Copp’s response on the ice and off so refreshing – to be so good they can’t ignore you.

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