Everyone loved what Chris Drury did at the trade deadline augmenting the Rangers lineup and right now it’s starting to look like it can cause an issue come the offseason. Andrew Copp was the biggest name that Chris Drury was able to bring in deadline day and he has yet to disappoint as a Blueshirt.
Since Ryan Strome has become a Ranger he has entrenched himself in the second line center spot in the Rangers lineup and become fast running mates with Artemi Panarin. However this year Strome’s game has seemingly gone by the weigh side for no apparent reason at all. He has looked slower on the ice and offensively just seems to be lost but with his poor play it has seemingly dragged the entire second line’s productivity.
This isn’t exactly what you want to see from a guy who is going to be looking for a new contract come the offseason.
Andrew Copp will also be looking for a new deal but since coming to New York he looks like could be a suitable replacement for Strome on the second line. When initially put on the second line wing with Strome and Panarin he provided a big time spark to the line and they seemed to have jump for the first time in a very long time. Copp also has a leg up on Strome because of his versatility to be able to play wing and center. Also Copp is able to play in every single on ice situation while having an offensive game that will translate well to playoff hockey.
Another advantage to keeping Copp as a Ranger longterm is that the price of his extension will come in cheaper than a potential Strome extension. With Strome currently making 4.5 million dollars and will be due to see an increase as high as 5.8 and maybe even 6 on the open market. Copp is currently at 3.64 million and while he’ll receive a bump as well it won’t be nearly as high as Strome’s extension which is something Chris Drury will seriously need to weigh as the Rangers head towards a cap crunch.
With Copp’s potential extension coming in at a far more team friendly number than Strome’s, it could help Drury try and keep Vatrano and Motte and keep the roster competitive while also looking to make a trade for another top six talent. Copp not only adds flexibility on ice but also off ice for the Blueshirts and he’s already shown that can be a good fit on this roster and bring an aspect that this team doesn’t currently possess. Of course, all this can change with a dynamite postseason performance from Strome or Andrew Copp becoming Ryan Spooner 2.0, unlikely for sure, but Copp has now positioned himself to be a big priority for Drury this offseason.