Winnipeg Jets rookie Andrew Copp has had to make the most of limited ice time over the course of the season, and he scored an unforgettable goal Sunday night by splitting the Wild defense before tucking home a backhand.
The Jets’ youth movement is in full effect to end the 2015-16 season, and while that hasn’t made for many favorable results for Winnipeg, it certainly has lent itself to some awe-inspiring displays of skill. The latest display came from Andrew Copp.
Midway through the second period, Copp, 21, was able to make a play at the Jets’ blueline to knock the puck past the Wild forecheck and speed into the neutral zone. Copp was attacking the Wild defense with a head of steam and he decided to throw a few quick jukes on Minnesota blueliner Matt Dumba, ending with a forehand drag between Dumba and defense partner Ryan Suter.
With the defense behind him, Copp showed some slick hands, opening up Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk with a backhand deke before slipping the puck five hole:
“I felt like I had a lot of speed through the neutral zone, I thought the angle was right and just the way the breakout happened I was alone up there, so I knew I had protection behind me if I was to turn that over,” Copp said of his tally. “I just saw an opportunity and tried to take it.”
Take it, he did, and the celebration says it all. That’s a gorgeous goal, and it’s not as if he beat two slouches on the blueline, either. Dumba and Suter make up arguably the Wild’s best pairing. It’s definitely not the style of goal Copp has been used to this season, but he’s now got five markers on the season and 11 points in 74 games.
Copp isn’t exactly part of the late-season youth movement, per se, as he’s been with the Jets all season, but he’s getting the opportunity now to potentially show coach Paul Maurice that there’s reason to increase his ice time as soon as next season.
Following Sunday’s game, Copp’s average ice time is less than eight minutes. However, Copp had only played upwards of 10 minutes twice before mid-February. Over the past month, though, Copp has skated 10-plus minutes in nine of 17 games, and more than 10 minutes in seven of the past eight games.