Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba against the Tampa Bay Lightning on...

Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 19, 2022. Credit: AP/Chris O'Meara

NEWARK — For Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba, the past week has been like going into a time machine. When general manager Chris Drury was done with all his NHL trade deadline dealing, Trouba found himself reunited with three old teammates from the U.S. National Development Program, including one, Andrew Copp, with whom he’s played for most of his life.

Trouba and Copp grew up together in Michigan and have been playing together since they were 10 years old. And they played together with the Winnipeg Jets, before Trouba was traded to the Rangers in the summer of 2019.

“The last three years were the first years without each other,’’ Copp said at the morning skate Tuesday before the Rangers faced the Devils at the Prudential Center. “He takes credit for me being in the NHL to begin with. So now it's like I'm following him around.’’

Copp, 27, was acquired Monday at the deadline, with a sixth-round pick in 2023, for forward Morgan Barron and two conditional second-round picks. He said he knows all about the Rangers because he’s always talking to Trouba and he was in his wedding party in the summer of 2020.

“Obviously we’re really close friends,’’ he said. “So it'll be fun to spend some time together again.’’

Forwards Tyler Motte, acquired from Vancouver Monday, and Frank Vatrano, acquired from Florida last Wednesday, were also in the USNTDP with Copp and Trouba, though Motte was a year younger than the others.

Extra manpower

With all the newcomers in the lineup against the Devils, rookie defenseman Braden Schneider and forwards Greg McKegg and Jonny Brodzinski were scratched, along with right wing Julien Gauthier and defenseman Libor Hajek. After the trade deadline, NHL teams no longer are limited to a 23-man roster, so for now the Rangers have five extra skaters, plus two more — forwards Kaapo Kakko and Kevin Rooney — who will join the squad when they come off injured reserve sometime in early April.

More Rangers

Newsday LogoDON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access