It took almost every minute of the 48 hours available after their hearing on Sunday, but an independent arbitrator has awarded a two year, $2.28 million dollar AAV contract to forward Andrew Copp.
TRANSACTION: F – Andrew Copp has been awarded a two-year contract with an AAV of $2.28 million by an independent arbitrator.
— Winnipeg Jets PR (@WpgJetsPR) July 23, 2019
As the contract value is under the minimum threshold of salary needed to allow a club to walk away, the Jets have no choice but to accept the deal, but to be fair there was never a sense of that being a possibility.
The two year deal for Copp also is advantageous for the Jets as Andrew will remain a Restricted Free Agent when the contract expires in July of 2021. Current CBA rules state that a player who is 27 years old as of June 30 on the year that contract expires is eligible to become an Unrestricted Free Agent. Copp, who’s birthday is on July 8 falls just a few weeks shy of that cut line. Copp will also fall short in terms of time played in the NHL as the second condition that grants UFA status is seven full seasons with 40 or more games each season as part of the main NHL roster. In July of 2021 Copp will have played six full seasons.
The awkward timing of both is perhaps why Copp only wanted a one year deal, although it could be seen as him willing to bet on himself as well as there could be plenty of opportunity next season to earn a bigger role with the Jets.
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It’s also worth noting that the Jets now have a second buyout window that opens on Friday and remains available to the team to use over the next 48 hours. It’s possible at that time that they could buy out the contract of Dimitri Kulikov. They of course also have three more RFAs to sign that aren’t going to arbitration including Eric Comrie, Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor.