Jets trade Copp, Beaulieu, Little

Draft-and-develop poster boy Andrew Copp is off to Broadway, while the Winnipeg Jets hope the acquisition of a pair of forwards of a similar ilk — including familiar face Mason Appleton — can fill the void he leaves behind.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/03/2022 (263 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Draft-and-develop poster boy Andrew Copp is off to Broadway, while the Winnipeg Jets hope the acquisition of a pair of forwards of a similar ilk — including familiar face Mason Appleton — can fill the void he leaves behind.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff made six separate deals between Sunday evening and the NHL’s trade deadline Monday at 2 p.m., the biggest involving a swap of Copp to the New York Rangers for draft picks and a prospect.

Copp. 27, is a pending unrestricted free agent who was not going to re-sign in Winnipeg this summer. Drafted out of the University of Michigan in 2013, he played 467 regular-season games and 34 playoff games with the franchise, registering 77 goals and 119 assists in that time.

The Jets also made a move to clear some future cap space, sending injured forward Bryan Little to the Arizona Coyotes. (Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press files)

“It’ll be a shame to say bye to a lot of these guys in the next couple of days, but I’m looking forward to a great opportunity in New York,” Copp told Sportsnet shortly after the deal was announced.

The impact of the return for Copp won’t be known for some time.

Winnipeg received two conditional second-round picks in the 2022 Draft, a 2023 fifth-round pick and minor-league centre Morgan Barron, 23. The Jets also sent a 2023 sixth-round the Rangers’ way.

Cheveldayoff got Appleton back from the Seattle Kraken on the eve of deadline day for a fourth-round selection in 2023 and then picked up Zach Sanford from the Ottawa Senators for a fifth-round pick this summer.

Both players could be in the lineup Tuesday when the Jets host the Vegas Golden Knights.

He said securing the bottom-six forwards helped soften the blow of losing Copp, who fired 13 goals (but just one in his last 16 games) and 22 assists in 56 games this season.

“When I talked to him, I can still remember going to watch him playing college and the relationships that we’ve built. The guy that you draft and develop and has come through your organization, there’s always a little bit of a different feeling in making a trade like that,” said Cheveldayoff.

“It was important for us to, again, not have to have holes in our lineup when we came out of the deadline day here. It was something that, given the balance of the salary cap and the potential of what we were going to do, I wanted to make sure we weren’t in a situation where we didn’t have the holes filled. It was important for me to get Mason, it was important for me to get Zach, and it was important that we helped this organization become deeper from an asset standpoint.”

Winnipeg reluctantly left Appleton off its protected list prior to the expansion draft and the Kraken grabbed him last July. At least twice, Cheveldayoff tried to bring him back into the fold before making it happen Monday.

Andrew Copp is headed to the New York Rangers. (Mike Deal / Free Press files) Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)

“When I was able to talk to him, I told him, ‘I finally got you back’ because we tried several times throughout the course of the year to acquire Mason. He’s excited to get back here and to get back into a spot that he knows he flourished in,” said the Jets GM.

Appleton, 26, had six goals and 11 assists in 47 games with Seattle. He is making US $900,000 this year and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

The Green Bay product was a sixth-round pick by the Jets in 2015. He has appeared in 138 previous games with Winnipeg (20 goals, 23 assists), while also spending parts of three seasons on the farm with the Manitoba Moose.

Sanford, listed at 6-4, 206 pounds, from Ottawa for a fifth-round pick. He has nine goals and eight assists in 62 games for the Sens. Sanford, 27, also played parts of four seasons with St. Louis.

With a 29-24-10 record and 19 regular-season games remaining, the Jets are currently four points out of the final Western Conference playoff spot.

“I think the message is, we’ve got some big games coming up here,” said Cheveldayoff. “We’ve got two new guys in our lineup that are different types of NHL players that are going to give us a little bit of a different look, maybe a little bit of a harder look, and hopefully that translates into something that we weren’t getting right now.”

Adam Lowry remains in COVID-19 protocol and won’t play until Thursday against the visiting Senators, at the earliest.

The Jets also made a move to clear some future cap space, sending injured forward Bryan Little to the Arizona Coyotes — but the well-respected veteran won’t actually play a game in the desert.

Little, 34, is on long-term injured reserve, the result of a career-ending head/ear injury suffered in November 2019. He carries a cap hit of US $5.291 million for the next two seasons, which the Jets have had to bury on LTIR. By moving his contract, Winnipeg will be able to start accumulating salary cap space beginning next year, which is forbidden when teams are using LTIR.

“It helps my graying hair slow down quite a bit,” said Cheveldayoff. “I had a conversation with Bryan Little today and thanked him very much for the help that he provided this organization by agreeing to… he had a (modified no-trade clause) and Arizona was on it, so we had to have him agree to waive it so that the contract could be traded there. It gives us the flexibility, if you want to call it, in the salary cap world …”

There was a price to pay, however. The Jets sent 23-year-old Nathan Smith to the Coyotes. The 2018 third-round draft pick is a Hobey Baker finalist with Minnesota State, but was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he didn’t sign with Winnipeg. That, according to Cheveldayoff, was, indeed, the case.

In exchange for Little’s contract and Smith, the Jets received a fourth-round draft pick back from Arizona.

Winnipeg also dealt pending UFA defenceman Nathan Beaulieu to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. Beaulieu, 29, is currently on a long-term injured reserve.

However, their third UFA, forward Paul Stastny, was not moved. The 36-year-old is currently skating on Winnipeg’s top line with captain Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele and has 17 goals and 14 assists in 52 games,

“Paul Stastny, for us, is a key piece from this organization’s standpoint that he can do so many things. You talk about the flexibility of playing the wing and playing centre, and just the leadership and the experience in the room. I can tell you, I never had any conversations about moving Stas because he’s that important for us,” said Cheveldayoff. “If we want a shot to make it into the playoffs here, we need him.”

Winnipeg also made a minor-league deal, sending defenceman Nelson Nogier to the Los Angeles Kings for blue-liner Markus Phillips.

The Jets also reassigned defenceman Ville Heinola, and forwards Jeff Malott and Kristian Reichel to the Manitoba Moose. The trio is eligible to play for the Moose in the American Hockey League playoffs.

Cole Perfetti is still on the long-term injured reserve list.

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

Who’s in

Mason Appleton

Zach Sanford

Morgan Barron

Markus Phillips

2022 conditional 2nd-round pick

2022 or 2023 2nd-round pick (Jets option)

2022 4th-round pick

2022 conditional 7th pick

2023 5th-round pick

Who’s out

Andrew Copp

Bryan Little

Nathan Beaulieu

Nelson Nogier

Nathan Smith

2022 5th-round draft choice

2023 4th round pick

2023 6th-round pick


Updated on Monday, March 21, 2022 10:40 AM CDT: Adds photo

Updated on Monday, March 21, 2022 3:14 PM CDT: Writethru adding Copp trade, details.

Updated on Monday, March 21, 2022 3:40 PM CDT: Adds photo

Updated on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 9:09 AM CDT: Fixes typo

Updated on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 9:41 AM CDT: Fixes typo

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