The Winnipeg Jets have brought aboard one of the most-prized pieces in their stable of prospects. And the man who coached him the last three years is big on his upside.

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The Winnipeg Jets have brought aboard one of the most-prized pieces in their stable of prospects. And the man who coached him the last three years is big on his upside.

The Jets announced Thursday morning they have agreed to terms with forward Andrew Copp of the University of Michigan on a three-year, two-way, entry-level contract with an average annual value of $958,300.

Michigan's Andrew Copp (9) will join the Winnipeg Jets

DUANE BURLESON / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES

Michigan's Andrew Copp (9) will join the Winnipeg Jets

And, just like his former Wolverines teammate a couple of years ago – Jacob Trouba – Copp is to join the Jets right away.

Copp has long been dubbed the Jets most ‘pro-ready’ prospect in their system and the legendary Red Berenson, reached in his office Thursday afternoon by the Free Press, was quick to confirm that.

"He comes to work every day like a pro, competes hard and tries to do things right," said Berenson.

"He’s good on both sides of the puck. It’s not for me to say what he’s going to be at the next level, but I would say he’s more of a shut-down centre man. He takes pride in that. He’s a good penalty killer, a good team player, a good leader. He’s got decent size at 6-2, he’s a good skater and he works hard.

"He’s a serious competitor."

The 20-year-old Ann Arbor, Mich. product just completed his junior season at Michigan and ended his college career with 81 points (40G, 41A) in 107 games over three seasons. Copp was the Wolverines captain in 2014-15 and earned All-Big Ten Second-Team recognition.

Originally drafted by the Jets in the fourth round (104th overall) in 2013, led Michigan in goals (15) as a sophomore and represented the US at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships.

Berenson said Copp’s understanding of defensive responsibilities are key to the foundation of his game.

"He won’t be out of place," said Berenson. "If he has to play for Winnipeg next week he won’t be out of place. Now, that depends on their coach and their mindset. I’ve seen a lot of players come through here and this kid, he’s going in the right direction.

"I told him, frankly, that I wanted him back for one more year. I thought he would be over-ready next year and a lot closer to stepping into Winnipeg’s lineup next season with that extra year of maturity, strength and confidence and everything that goes with it.

"But he’s anxious to make that step now and confident he can do it. So, good luck to him."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca
Twitter: @WFPEdTait