Like any local kid that laced up their skates for the very first time, Charlie Coyle grew up in Weymouth hoping to realize his childhood dream of donning a black and gold sweater one day. He’s one step closer to making that a reality.
The Bruins acquired Coyle from the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday in exchange for another local product in Ryan Donato and a conditional 2019 draft pick. The former Boston University will don the No. 13 in his new uniform beginning Saturday when the red-hot B’s conclude their five-game road trip against a St. Louis Blues squad coming off a 4-2 loss in Dallas that snapped their 11-game win streak Thursday night.
Don Sweeney eyed an upgrade in the middle of the lineup for the stretch run. The Bruins GM acquired versatile Coyle to mainly center the third line and help in the secondary scoring department.
“I see Charlie mostly playing the middle. I like his size and strength in the middle of the ice,” Sweeney said during his conference call with the local Boston media on Thursday. “You know, watching him play the wing, he’s not necessarily a shoot-first guy. He’s a possession player, and can he complement? Certainly. You know, he can score, but he’s a bit unselfish in that regard. You know, he’s put anywhere from 50 to 30 points. He’s a system player, and as I mentioned, 5-on-5 production is there. I do believe he is going to come in and complement our group. I think he’ll help drive a third line to give us more depth and more balance.”
The Bruins could use that depth on the revolving door surrounding the middle of the lineup. Trent Frederic, David Backes and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson all had their chance at solidifying the third line center spot. Frederic showed flashes of solid play during his first stint in Boston and heads to back Providence with a little confidence as he continues his professional development. Backes and Forsbacka Karlsson lacked consistency when given their role.
Coyle struggled with consistency at times in Minnesota. But he’s a better third line option than what the Bruins have.
His production dipped the last year and a half after tallying career highs in goals (21) and points (56) in 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively. But Coyle (10 goals, 18 assists in 60 games) enters a better situation in Boston and is eager to find what the coaching staff has in mind.
“I’m going to talk to the coach a little more, and see what his thoughts are, and share our opinions back and forth, see where I can best fit in and help the team, so we’ll hit that when it comes,” Coyle said during his first interaction with the Boston media during Thursday’s conference call.
“It’s really an exciting time. You dream of this when you’re younger, and to come back home and play. I remember how excited Chris Wagner was this summer when he signed with the Bruins, and it was a cool feeling for me to watch him feel that way. You kind of envision what it would be like for yourself. To go through that now is really exciting, and all my family’s excited. I get to see them a little more, and I think it’s going to be a really great experience.”
Coyle hasn’t met the entire team yet, sans his past interactions with the Walpole native Wagner and Torey Krug. Both sent texts after hearing the news of their new teammate.
Yet, a few of the Bruins, including Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, already welcomed Coyle with open arms prior to Wednesday’s shootout win over the Golden Knights. He’ll meet everyone in St. Louis during his first practice in a spoked ‘B’ sweater on Friday.
“I got a few texts from Chris Wagner and Torey Krug yesterday because I’ve known those guys. I was pretty shocked to get a call from Zdeno and Patrice yesterday before their game [in Vegas],” Coyle said. “That was pretty classy, and I was pretty excited about that. That was just the players. And I obviously talked to Cam Neely and Don Sweeney, and I talked to them for a few as well. So, it was nice to have a bunch of people reach out and make me feel welcome and just excited about coming in to meet everyone.”
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