The Bruins have now been linked to local hockey product Charlie Coyle a couple of different times in trade rumors over the last few weeks. Pierre Lebrun from the Athletic said on Montreal sports radio on Tuesday that “for sure the Bruins have kicked the tires on Charlie Coyle” in exploratory trade discussions with the Minnesota Wild.
So how should we feel about all this?
This shouldn’t come as a surprise given that the versatile Coyle can play both center and wing, has good size, is a hockey product out of Weymouth and that he played at Boston University before joining up with the Wild. Coyle checks a lot of the boxes that the Bruins seem to require for the players around the league that they’re interested in.
After all, Coyle is a pretty solid NHL player.
He’s posted 82 goals and 228 points in 449 games after being a first round pick in the 2010 draft, and brings 6-foot-3, 218-pound size along with top-9 skill to the table while still being smack dab in the middle of his prime at 26 years old. Coyle is clearly a useful player and bringing him into the Bruins fold would instantly make them a better team if he were to slide over to third line center, or even supplant a struggling young player if Ryan Donato and Danton Heinen can’t keep up their current offensive hot streaks.
But we’re also talking about a player that’s topped 20 goals only once in his five full seasons, and only has gone over 40 points twice in those five years with the Wild. He’s a better third line center than JFK right now with five goals and 14 points in 30 games this season, but would it be better for the Bruins in the long run to get either JFK or Trent Frederic real NHL experience down the stretch rather than hand things over to a veteran with a ceiling of about 15 goals and 40 points?
Similarly, it doesn’t feel like Coyle would be a guy that’s going to work as a goal-scoring winger on the second line with David Krejci. He has the kind of size the Bruins are looking for, of course, but Jake DeBrusk is more of an impact player than Coyle in only his second NHL season. He’s an upgrade over some of the young players currently on the roster, but how much more is really up for debate at this point.
It should all come down to cost in the end for the Black and Gold. If they can get Coyle for a player like Anders Bjork who might not have a long-term future in Boston given some of the flaws in his still promising game, then it would be a good get for the Black and Gold to make them a deeper all-around team.
But a cost of Ryan Donato, or even the struggling Heinen, for Coyle would be too high of a price considering that Heinen’s 16 goals and 47 points last season are better than most of Coyle’s five full seasons in the NHL. He’s a good story because he’s a local kid and a Hockey East product that everybody is familiar with around Boston, but the Bruins already have more than enough New England kids and college hockey products on their NHL roster.
They don’t need more unless they are high-impact players.
What they need is a winger who can score goals and give Krejci the kind of talented wingers he’s excelling with right now while skating in the injured Patrice Bergeron’s place with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. The last three games are a stark reminder that Krejci hasn’t been given enough on his wings over the last few seasons.
Coyle simply hasn’t been that kind of high impact player for the Wild to this point in his career, and if he was ever going to be that kind of player, he’d already be doing it in Minnesota.
If the cost is right, then Coyle makes a lot of sense, but there will certainly be bigger, better names out there for the Bruins a little closer to the NHL trade deadline when Don Sweeney might be willing to pull the trigger. With the B’s still in a playoff spot, it’s a smart play to wait and see the trade landscape unfold over the next few months with no big hurry to swing a deal.