At the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Wild made a splash by giving Brent Burns and a 2nd round pick to San Jose in exchange for Devin Setoguchi, a 1st round pick, and a young prospect named Charlie Coyle. Chuck Fletcher called Coyle the "X-factor" of the trade, hoping the big forward could develop into a strong everyday NHL player. Three years later, Coyle is entering his third professional year and is looking to take the next step. Here's a quick look at his stats:
With 107 NHL games to his name, most fans are pretty familiar with Coyle. In 2011-2012 he left Boston University for the QMJHL and put up a crazy 38 points in 23 games. He then turned professional the following year and played in Houston of the AHL during the recent lockout. He was called up to the big club in early 2013 and had a successful rookie season playing alongside Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise.
For most fans, Charlie Coyle really came alive during "The Shift."
That clip is always fun to watch and it really highlights what Coyle does so well. Coyle excels along the boards where he can use his body to knock guys off the puck. He's known as a fitness guru, and his strength is evident on plays like this. He's very good at holding on to the puck once he gets it in the offensive zone.
Coyle has the potential to be a great power forward. The question is if and when he can take the next big step. After training camp last year, many reported how dominant Coyle was and how much he had improved. However a knee injury slowed him down in the second game of the year and he wasn't quite the same through most of the season. He did, however, pick up his game at the end of the year and in the playoffs. Let's hope that is a sign of things to come.
One way Coyle could improve his game would be to shoot more. He's a decent playmaker but only 12 goals last year playing in a top-6 role is not going to cut it. The thing is, Coyle actually has a pretty great shot. Just take a look at this zinger from last season:
More of that please. At the very least, Coyle is a consistent enough player to be an effective third line winger. This is the year for him to prove that he's worth more than that. He will be an RFA this upcoming summer and a breakout season could go a long way.
It's hard not to root for a guy like Chuck.