Roster freeze ends tomorrow. 2 #NHLJets players must come off active roster. Copp, Tanev, Burmistrov, Thorburn, Stuart scratched tonight.
— Mike McIntyre (@mikeoncrime) December 28, 2016
The decision to send these two down made sense for a number of reasons.
Copp is waiver exempt, meaning the Jets were able to send him down to their AHL affiliate without running the risk of losing him to another club.
With the Jets’ current forward lineup, Copp was scheduled to be stapled in the press box every night, barring any unforeseen injury. At the age of 22, more value comes out of Copp logging ice time with the Manitoba Moose than being a nightly scratch with the Jets.
Though he has more upside than the aging Drew Stafford, there was no way realistically that the Jets would send Stafford and his $4.35M cap hit down to the minors. Hockey Graphs author omgitsdomi‘s game score model has Stafford’s 0.11 ranked the worst of all Jets’ starting forwards.
Copp should become the first in line to enter the lineup if a Jets forward gets injured. This is especially easy with the Moose playing home games in the same city as the Jets. The Moose may be on the road causing Alexander Burmistrov to sub in for a game or two before Copp is able to fly in. This is the worst case scenario and doesn’t exactly have season-crushing implications. The Jets will survive.
The speedy forward “jumped off the page” in the eyes of Jets management. There is no doubt about it – he is one of the fastest skaters on the team. Unfortunately this appears to be his only positive attribute.
Tanev has been dragging linemates down all season. His 42.4 CF% is worst among all Jets forwards, meaning no other forward gets outshot while on the ice than him. The analytics crowd often tell us that the “eye test” can be deceiving. This certainly holds true in Tanev’s case. Many are convinced he’s a positive player while watching him seemingly fly down ice.
Speed is a great quality to possess, especially in today’s NHL. It does, however, need to be complimented by many others. Hockey IQ, work along the boards, and scoring are all areas Tanev needs to improve on if he wishes to be an effective bottom line winger in the NHL.
Like Copp, Tanev was waiver exempt, making the re-assignment easy.
The Press Box Players
Burmistrov, Mark Stuart, and Chris Thorburn are now set to be the team’s three scratched skaters. Stuart and Thorburn are often praised for their leadership qualities, but dogged for their negative impact on the ice. These are the ideal guys to have sitting every night, as their character qualities can still be deployed in the locker room or at practice, while not dragging the team down during games.
The Jets are still possibly hoping to net some kind of return for Burmistrov on the trade market, though a team would have to be extremely desperate to even budge.