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Here's the best thing about Charlie Coyle's great season: He can get even better

We take a look at what Charlie Coyle needs to do to build off his breakout season.

Charlie Coyle had a great season, but there's still room for improvement.
Charlie Coyle had a great season, but there's still room for improvement.
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
The offseason means the end of Minnesota Wild games, but the work is never done. With Exit Interviews, Hockey Wilderness assumes the GM's chair and sits down with each player to review their season, highlighting what we liked from them over the year and pointing out what can be improved to take the next step. We start with Charlie Coyle.

Charlie! Good to see you. Sit down, enjoy that big omelette. Let's chat.

Last season, we did this interview pleased with what you accomplished last season, but looking for more.

And you gave us more. A lot more. You set a career-high in goals and points, which was awesome. But it was more than that. You just looked better. You looked faster, more confident, more aggressive. Those improvements, combined with your strength caused nightmares for opponents, who oftentimes had to cheat to stop you. Your 34 drawn penalties weren't just the highest in your career so far, that was the 4th-highest total in the league. When you have all of the elements of your game working together, you're unstoppable. And just as amazingly, you did this while letting us shift between wing and center, all without complaint.

So, yes, we're really happy with your season.

Say it with me: "I am the #1 scoring option on my line."

But again, we're looking for more. Now that you've put your skills together, the next step is consistency. 20 goals is 20 goals, yes, but this year we've seen streaks of 2 goals in 17 games, two 9-game goalless streaks, and a 21-game goalless streak lasting into the playoffs. Goalless streaks happen, but the greats in this league are able to avoid those long cold spells.

Expectations for Next Season

You're one of the big pieces of this team moving forward. You got 17 minutes a night in the regular season, and you'll get at least that next season. Maybe even closer to the 19 you got in the postseason. We want you to play all situations, and are relying on you to be one of our most productive players.

That said, there's too many balls in the air for us to tell you whether we're going to play you at center or wing next season. We really liked how Mikael Granlund played at the wing, which leaves a bit of a hole for us down the middle. We're aggressively pursuing a center this offseason to fill that void, and your role will depend on whether we acquire that center or not. Either way, we value your versatility and are confident that you will be able to excel in either role. Don't forget about those faceoffs!

Offseason Homework

1. Whatever you were doing with your skating and shooting coaches last season, keep doing it. The work you put in over last summer really showed in your game.

2. You are the #1 scoring option of any line you're on. Are you on Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu's wing? You're the #1 scoring option. Are you centering Granlund and Jason Zucker? You're the #1 scoring option. Are you taking the Nino Niederreiter spot on the Erik Haula - Jason Pominville line? You're the #1 scoring option. You're too big, too fast, and too good of a shooter to be 10th on the team in shots on goal, regardless of where you play and who you play with. Embracing a shoot-first mentality is going to go a long way to getting more consistency to your game, and it'll open up rebound opportunities and even more power play chances for your teammates.

3. We've focused a lot on your offensive potential the last few years, but we feel you could also be elite on the defensive side of the puck. A focus on edge work this offseason to boost your ability to change directions and accelerate will come in handy no matter what our defensive system is next year. It should be especially useful on the penalty kill, where we plan on using you more, as well as for forcing opponents into mistakes on the forecheck at 5-on-5.