The Minnesota Wild put together a solid 2013 season, but had to fight their way into the playoffs and ultimately came up short against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. The Wild threw a lot of money at free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise in the offseason, and got a decent return on their investment. They also got a big contribution from several of their young prospects, as Jonas Brodin, Darcy Kuemper, Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle all had their time in the spotlight. Coyle, a 2010 first round pick of the San Jose Sharks who was acquired (along with Devin Setoguchi) for Brent Burns in a trade, ended up playing 37 games with the Wild and based on his performance will be all but guaranteed a roster spot next season.
Coyle spent the lockout playing in the AHL with the Houston Aeros, where he scored 14 goals and added 11 assists in 47 games. The Wild called on him soon after the work stoppage ended, and he proved more than able to chip in at the highest level. Coyle finished the season with eight goals and 14 points, and even saw top-line time with Parise and Mikko Koivu. The young forward has great size (6-2, 200) and was able to adjust to the speed of the pro game in a very short amount of time. He had two assists in five playoff games, while averaging 18 minutes of ice time per game. It’s pretty clear already that the coaching staff has a lot of faith in Coyle, and he could be poised for a breakout 2013-14 season. His play as rookie is good enough to earn a “B+” grade.