Andrew Copp figures he's earned the promotion. Most importantly, so does his boss.

Andrew Copp figures he's earned the promotion. Most importantly, so does his boss.

The Michigan product, set to embark on his seventh NHL season — all with Winnipeg — will patrol the left side on the Jets' second forward trio Wednesday night in Anaheim. That's a bump-up from his customary spot alongside Adam Lowry on the third line.

Copp is on a one-year contract, with the ability to become an unrestricted free agent once it is over. Coming off a career year offensively, he's giving himself a chance to cash in bigtime with another productive campaign.

"I feel good. I want to continue to get better, keep improving my game, and I think it's another chance to do that, solidifying in the top-6, hopefully, and producing," Copp said Monday, after a 40-minute practice at Canada Life Centre. "Playing good, solid defence like I always have, contributing on both special teams, being a leader, doing anything that's asked of me."

On Wednesday against the Ducks, Pierre-Luc Dubois will skate between Copp and Nikolaj Ehlers, who will play on his off wing.

"Just looking to continue where I left off last year and trying to just build on that, and building more chemistry with Nikky and Dubes to start and then, obviously, things are gonna happen and we move around, as we've seen. So, just trying to continue to get better," added Copp, 27.

A sound defensive forward with glints of scoring touch in the past, Copp's offensive ingenuity was on full display during the abbreviated 2021 campaign. He scored 15 goals and helped set up 24 others, while suiting up for 55 of 56 games in the all-Canadian division, performing in the top-six for long stretches and settling in on the power play.

While the foundation of his game won't change, he will undoubtedly alter some of his decisions as a second-line winger.

"It doesn’t change in terms of the type of game that I’m playing. But there are times where, part of it, too (is related) to our responsibility. If I am out with (Ehlers) and (Dubois), we’re expected to produce and you might need to make one more play," he said. "If I’m with (Lowry), it’s probably in a shutdown type of role, where we’re playing against (Connor) McDavid or (Leon) Draisaitl — like last year — where your risk has to change.

"So, I don’t think the way I play the game changes. I’m always looking to create for other guys, kind of a pass-first type of guy, especially when 27 (Ehlers) is busting down the wing, you want to feed him the puck. But in certain circumstances, depending on who we’re playing against and that kind of thing, you might see my desire to take risks change from time to time. More based on matchup than anything else."

Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers at practice in Winnipeg on Sunday. Ehlers says he's looking forward to playing with linemates Andrew Copp and Pierre-Luc Dubois.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers at practice in Winnipeg on Sunday. Ehlers says he's looking forward to playing with linemates Andrew Copp and Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Jets head coach Paul Maurice said the dependable, 6-1, 205-pound forward deserves to be rewarded.

"I think he earned it last year with the numbers he put up. You deserve to get opportunity based on the prior season," said the long-time NHL bench boss, now beginning his eighth full season in the Manitoba capital. "He put up some really good numbers, he did a nice job on that power play. It’s kind of like, he went home for the summer and the whole world didn’t change."

The Jets are counting on a bounce-back year from Dubois, who admitted last week he feels far more comfortable in his own skin this year. Ehlers, meanwhile, has looked dynamite in training camp.

"We’re gonna keep building. I like where we’re at," offered Ehlers. "I think we’re three a little different players and when you can get that, working together, it can create something real nice. I think we’re all excited and we’ve just got to keep working on that chemistry, on and off the ice, and it will be good."

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A reminder to all that Mark Scheifele WILL NOT go Duck hunting Wednesday.

The Jets top centre will serve the fourth and final game of a suspension he received during the playoffs last spring for a dangerous hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans.

Veteran middle man Paul Stastny will take over between Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler, while juggling will need to happen on special teams.

But Maurice is known to shift pieces on the board with regularity.

"I think there is going to be a fair amount of movement with those guys. Line matchups, home and road, all of those players," he said. "Stas is going to come up and play between Kyle and Blake. It’s the first of a whole bunch of things you end up doing over the course of a year, injuries and all those things that go into it. You set your lines and then you move them around all the time."

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Assistant 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).