The Minnesota Wild have a farm system that is loaded with talent, but most of the attention has gone to Mikael Granlund, who is projected to contribute to the team this year. Today we will take a closer look at another of the team’s exciting young players, Charlie Coyle.
Coyle is a new addition to the Wild, coming over in the Brent Burns trade along with Devin Setoguchi. At just 20 years old, he is listed at 6’2″, 208 pounds with soft hands and good puck control. He is not afraid to play a physical game or get to the dirty areas to dig out pucks. If he puts on a few more pounds of muscle as he matures, he could fill the power forward role that Guillaume Latendresse used to occupy (when he was healthy that is.)
Coyle has bounced around quite a bit recently, having played for Boston University for all of 2010-11 and then leaving school in the middle of the 11-12 season to play for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, where he posted a jaw-dropping (15+23=38) in just 23 games there. His performance last year secured him a spot in the AHL for the Houston Aeros, where he has been making noise already this year skating on a line with Granlund and Jason Zucker.
One of the obstacles Coyle will face as he contends for a spot on the Wild roster will be a crowded top-six configuration. With all the talent on the roster, Coyle may have to settle for a third-line assignment–although with the likes of Kyle Brodziak and Cal Clutterbuck, that might not be a bad spot. In fact, Coyle could complement Brodziak and Clutterbuck very nicely, and turn that line into a solid checking and energy line that would give opponents fits. I may be getting ahead of myself, though, as Coyle still has to work his way up through the system. With a roster that still has veterans like Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, nothing is assured.
Ultimately, I think if Coyle can develop as he is expected to, he could be a solid depth player for the Wild. Any team that wants to have a real shot at the Stanley Cup needs to have four solid lines, and with an improved top six, the Wild still need to field a complete roster. If Coyle pans out, the Burns trade could long be remembered as a major turning point for the Wild organization.