Charlie Coyle was a highly-touted local prospect when the San Jose Sharks made him a first round selection in 2010. Traded to the Minnesota Wild just a year later, Coyle began a trek that took him far from his home of Weymouth, Massachusetts. After leaving Boston University after two seasons, Coyle ended up in the QMJHL, the AHL, and eventually in Minnesota.
When he returned to Boston last February, Coyle was a relative unknown to the team he grew up cheering for.
“Can’t lie to you, not a lot. Simply because it was twice a year. The Western teams you don’t pay as much attention to,” coach Bruce Cassidy said about his impressions of Charlie Coyle in Minnesota. “You’re not typically doing a lot of pre-scouting with them. I know internally there was discussions as we got closer to the deal, sometimes the name will come up and we watch a little closer.”
Coyle was always a player that people expected more from while with the Wild. He flashed those skills with a 21-goal season in 2015-16, but didn’t regain that form. Cassidy believes there was a reason for that.
“What I thought in Minnesota was they had him on the wing and center and maybe that affected his play,” Cassidy continued. “I can’t tell just from watching video. That’s kind of what you hear that they couldn’t pinpoint a position for him. So, that was our MO from day one. Not only the fact that we needed a glue guy in our third line center but we wanted to give him that opportunity to drive that line and put responsibility on his shoulders.”
So far, so good. Coyle scored 16 points (9 g, 7 a) in 24 games last spring. He helped the Bruins win the Eastern Conference championship and advance to the Stanley Cup Final. This season, Coyle had 37 points (16 g, 21 a) in 70 games. It was his best season since 2016-17.
“I think it’s worked out well for him and us obviously,” Cassidy proclaimed. “He was always a puck possession guy down low when we did watch him and after that I don’t know. People said he didn’t shoot enough. The few games I watched him I couldn’t tell that. I just know he had the puck a lot and it’s hard to get from him.”