When the Boston Bruins acquired Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 20, they added a piece that would exceed their expectations. Though his acquisition was originally met with mixed responses, Coyle proved the Bruins right in adding him at the deadline.
His hometown roots and physical style of play made him a fan favorite and his incredible postseason helped the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final. The newcomer seems like he’s really made himself a home in Boston and is due for a major jump in production and overall play.
Coyle’s Transition to Boston
Coyle grew up in Weymouth, Massachusetts as a Bruins fan and played youth hockey there. He played junior hockey for the local South Shore Kings and Division I college hockey for the Boston University Terriers. So it was no surprise that he was happy when he was traded to Boston.
When the Bruins moved on from Ryan Donato, shipping him to Minnesota along with a fifth-round pick for Coyle, it catapulted him from a team that would eventually miss the playoffs to a strong contender in the Eastern Conference. It was clear the incredible passion and fire that Coyle played with throughout his time with the Bruins last season. This can most likely be attributed to this change of scenery, especially when the destination was a team he had wanted to play for since he was young.
Even in the short amount of time he played for the Bruins last season, Coyle has taken his play to another level. His monster postseason and seamless fit into the Bruins deep and talented roster are some of the big reasons the Bruins made their run to the Stanley Cup Final. But after a heart-wrenching defeat expectations have only heightened for Coyle as he enters his first full season as a Bruin.
Turning Eyes in Preseason
All signs from Bruins training camp have pointed to Coyle becoming a key component of the roster this season, even more so than last season. He has impressed his coaches as well as his teammates. Coyle even garnered significant praise from teammate and first-line winger Brad Marchand when he said:
“He’s been incredible from the first day of camp until now. He’s been by far the best player (in camp). He’s just dominating in every area right now. He was fun to play with.”
The vast positive opinions and rave reviews about Coyle’s play so far in training camp seemed to almost come to fruition when he scored a stellar breakaway goal in a preseason matchup against the New Jersey Devils.
Coyle seems to be re-energized and more motivated than ever after losing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and if it means he will play anything like he did in the postseason Bruins fans are in for a treat. Even with Coyle at his best, the Bruins will continue to search for an answer in the top six. This may be a young forward such as Jack Studnicka or Oskar Steen but if they don’t work, it would not be shocking to see Bruce Cassidy change direction and move Coyle up in the lineup.
The Bruins need for a top-six forward has led many to imagine a scenario in which Coyle would move to the wing and jump up into the top six. However, the Bruins would rather leave Coyle on the third line where he has flourished.
Coyle, a natural centerman was crucial in using his size and brute physicality to clear lanes for his teammates and create havoc in front of the net. The high energy, physical style that both he and fourth-liner Sean Kuraly brought throughout the postseason allowed longer-tenured veterans such as David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron to rest their legs keeping them fresh deeper into games. It seems as though this will once again be a priority for head coach Cassidy as his top two centers continue to age.
The addition of Coyle for a full season will hypothetically allow Cassidy to employ this strategy throughout the season. A big advantage as compared to last year when multiple players tried to fill Coyle’s role with none sticking very nicely.
As the Bruins look to repeat as Eastern Conference champions and go one step further in winning the Stanley Cup Final they will need lower-line players to mature and develop. It looks like they will have gotten a role model for these players in Coyle as a new season begins.