Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman was among the busiest National Hockey League executives when the League's free agency period began just under a month ago, beginning his flurry of signings by bringing aboard Ann Arbor, Mich. native and former Michigan Wolverines captain Andrew Copp with a five year contract.
Copp, who began his career with the Winnipeg Jets and also played with the New York Rangers, immediately brings an element of scoring and leadership to Detroit's roster.
"First, there's no real shortcuts, it's just a lot of hard work and coming together as a team and everyone pulling in the same direction," he said of joining the rebuilding Red Wings. "But by that token of no shortcuts, it can happen quickly. You saw from both those teams (Jets and Rangers) that we were out the playoffs the year before, and the next thing you know with a young group, they take the next step and we're in the Conference Finals. Not to say that's us, but not to say that won't be us."
"There's a lot of potential with the group we have and the guys we brought in have experience in winning Cups," he continued. "I think that myself and Chiarot going deep in the playoffs as well, I think we'll be able to add a lot of that experience and knowledge, but we don't want to come in as know it alls and saying we're the ones who have been there. We're tying to come in humble and prove ourselves from the get-go. I think the leadership aspect will come out organically over time."
Copp is joining his former Wolverines teammate in Dylan Larkin, someone that he's not only played with in the past, but also kept in touch with all these years later.
"We stayed in touch pretty well over the past six or seven years, and obviously with him being in Detroit I didn't get to see him as much during the season," Copp explained. "But he's a guy I love being around in the summer time, we had a lot of good skates with the group that we had in Plymouth. He's a super competitive guy and he pushes himself and others, loves to have fun and be around the guys. A great guy to have around and have as a caption, so it'll be a blast playing with him. WE're looking forward to furthering our relationship more and having that trust."
The Red Wings are certainly going to be viewed as a team on the rise, as they have current reigning Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider patrolling the blue line as well as Lucas Raymond up front in addition to the established presence of Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi. Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman made several more additions to the roster aside from Andrew Copp, bringing aboard the likes of Dominik Kubalik, Olli Maatta, Ben Chiarot, and David Perron, as well as trading for goaltender Ville Husso.