The Minnesota Wild have traded Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins. According to Bob McKenzie, the belief is that the Wild got Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick in return. Coyle is from East Weymouth, Massachusetts and spent two seasons with the Boston University Terriers in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Charlie Coyle is heading to the Boston Bruins.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 20, 2019
Coyle has spent his entire career with the Wild despite originally being drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Coyle was sent to the Wild along with Devin Setoguchi and a first-round pick when the Sharks acquired Brent Burns and a second-round pick back in 2011 just a year after Coyle was drafted.
Coyle was highly touted as a prospect given the skill he displayed for a player of his size. At 6 foot 3 and 220 pounds, Coyle had everything necessary to be a top-six forward in the NHL if he could put it all together. Though he’s been a regular in the league since 2013-14 after playing in 37 games in 2012-13, Coyle hasn’t yet found the success that many expected of him.
That isn’t to say that Coyle hasn’t been a good player as he’s proven that he can play at both center and on the wing while scoring double-digit goals and at least 30 points a season. He put up a career-high 21 goals in 2015-16 with the Wild and recorded a career-high in points the following season when he’d score 18 goals and 56 points in 82 games.
Throughout his time with the Wild, Coyle has bounced between center and the wing and he’s been moved up and down the lineup, most recently playing right wing on the team’s top line alongside Eric Staal and Jason Zucker.
With the Bruins looking for help in their top-six on the wing as well as on the third line at the center position, Coyle is an interesting grab and one that could benefit them down the stretch and for the long-run.
Related: Bruins: 3 Trade Targets at Center
Coyle still has one year remaining on his deal beyond this season at a very team-friendly $3.2 million before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2020. This gives the Bruins a chance to see Coyle for the remainder of the season as well as in the postseason (ideally for them) and throughout all of the 2019-20 season before making a decision on any potential contract extension.
Only time will tell if this trade fills the immediate need for the Bruins despite the high cost for the future.
Wild Get a High-Potential Young Forward in Donato
For the Wild, this gives them a chance to take another highly-touted forward in Donato who was once considered one of the best prospects not yet in the NHL.
Despite making a huge splash in his first 12 games with the Bruins after signing a contract with the team and leaving Harvard early, scoring five goals and nine points and playing in a top-six capacity, Donato has struggled in his official rookie season. In 34 games at the NHL level this season, the 22-year-old has scored six goals and nine points.
Fortunately for the Wild, Donato is still young and very much in the early stages of his career. He’s also capable of playing at center and on the wing and could be a very nice pickup for the Wild as they look to potentially retool on the fly while recouping some valuable assets for their current players.
Donato is NHL-ready and should spend the remainder of the 2018-19 season with the Wild barring some sort of major fall-off.
While the Bruins would likely have preferred to retain Donato, the win-now nature of their team obviously took precedent.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.