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Copp looks to build off strong season

Michigan product set career-high with 11 goals in 2018-19

by Tyler Esquivel @TylerAEsquivel / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - It's safe to Andrew Copp entered the 2018-19 season a motivated player. 

"I haven't forgotten about what happened at the end of last year," said Copp on Sept. 26, 2018 in reference to being scratched in Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights in what turned out to be Winnipeg's final game of the season. 

Fast forward to the end of the season, Copp proved to be an integral part of Winnipeg's roster. The Michigan product set a career-high in goals (11) and was a tied for Winnipeg's second-best point producer with five assists in the playoffs. 

"Last 50 games, I feel really good about it," said Copp on Monday morning at Bell MTS Place.  

"Pretty much since I came back from that head injury, (I've) done well for myself in terms of points and the defensive is probably the best part and that didn't fall off either."

Video: YEAR END | Copp, Lowry

For a large portion of the season, Copp shifted from the wing to centre. The 24-year-old had success down the middle finishing with the 55.3 FOW% - good for second on the team behind Adam Lowry (57.6%). 

"I thought I was very comfortable at centre and throughout second half of the year," said Copp. 

"I feel like it's sort of going to be the same sort of thing as this year, moving around and where I am needed. I felt really comfortable at centre and feel that's my natural position."

Aside from playing down the middle, Copp found himself on the wing with Adam Lowry and Brandon Tanev. The trio - or the 'TLC' line as they're affectionately known - has been one of Winnipeg's most reliable, going out against the other team's top units when called upon. In Game 5 against St. Louis, the Bell MTS faithful went so far as to chant their nickname following dominate stretches of play in the Blues' zone. 

"Obviously, when you put us three together it's one of the better checking lines in the league and we were able to produce some offence there too, said Copp.

With the summer approaching and Copp and Tanev entering restricted and unrestricted free agency, respectively, it's possible the 'TLC' might have played their last game together. 

"We're not really sure what's going to happen, obviously (Tanev) is going to have the ability to talk to some teams and he had a great year and that's up to him. He deserves that," said Lowry.

Video: STL@WPG, Gm5: Lowry bangs home rebound 12 seconds in

"He took his game to another level this year, he started to add that offensive element. It's a great opportunity for him if he goes elsewhere, just disappointed that we won't have that opportunity to play with him. Even if he's back next year, there's a chance we'll have different lines."

No matter who is in the lineup on opening day next season, Copp hopes everyone will be refreshed and ready to make another - a much longer - run at the Stanley Cup. 

"Hopefully over the course of the summer each guy does some reflection and we can get a little change in mind set going into next year," said Copp. 

"We still haven't done anything, we got to continue to prove ourselves and be ready to take that next step. I don't think it's anything collective or team building or anything like that, I think it's continuing to work on our games individually and how that translates to the team game. On top of that, just work on our mental toughness and our mentality going forward."

Yes, the end of this season feels much different than a year ago, but, it's safe to say Andrew Copp - and the rest of the Winnipeg Jets - will be motivated going into 2019-20. 

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