NEW YORK, NY – Players share a common priority during the Stanley Cup playoffs: winning a Stanley Cup. But they have plenty of secondary goals during postseason runs, especially the unrestricted free agents, who can use these high-stakes games to give their contract values extra pushes under national spotlight.
Which pending UFAs have increased their contract values the most during the 2022 playoffs? The list doesn’t have to include stars coming off career years such as Johnny Gaudreau and Nazem Kadri. Those two arguably launched their values so high before the playoffs that they didn’t have much higher to go. Instead, we’ll look at a few names that opened the postseason with a bit less fanfare but may have climbed into higher income brackets with their efforts.
Andrew Copp, RW, Rangers
Copp was a consistently useful member of the Winnipeg Jets’ top-nine forward group, capable of bouncing all around, playing multiple positions and killing penalties. He even got some long run on their top line this season. But did anyone expect Copp to be a true front-line winger from the moment he joined the New York Rangers in a trade-deadline deal? He didn’t just deepen the forward corps – he elevated it, instantly lighting it up with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. Including 16 regular-season games and 16 playoff games, Copp has produced 14 goals and 31 points in 32 games. Copp and the Rangers already started working on an extension in April. Re-signing him would further justify the price New York paid to get him from the Jets, as reaching the Eastern Conference final meant Winnipeg received a 2022 first-round pick instead of a second-round pick. Keeping Copp could mean an AAV north of $5 million on a long-term deal and could price Strome out of New York, but Copp has been more than worth it.