After being acquired at the trade deadline last season, Charlie Coyle struggled at first. That, however, is a distant memory as the Weymouth native shined in the postseason.
With the regular season approaching Coyle is preparing to enter his first full campaign in a Bruins uniform. He is expected to be an important piece on the Bruins third line which lost Marcus Johannson in free agency. For the Massachusetts native, it is a dream come true as he looks to be a key contributor for his hometown team.
When the Bruins traded for Coyle, they were hoping he would improve their secondary scoring. In the regular season, that didn’t go as planned and in 21 games, he had six points. In the postseason, however, he thrived on the games biggest stage.
In 24 games playoff games Coyle had nine goals and seven assists. His 16 points were tied with David Krejci for fifth-most on the team. Whenever the Bruins needed a goal, Coyle came through. His performance was particularly impressive, considering that he spent most of his time on the third line. He provided a boost to the Bruins bottom lines that they had been missing all season.
Additionally, once Coyle became comfortable, he was a perfect fit. On the Bruins third line, his two-way play allowed him to excel. Coyle used his size to his advantage to win battles along the boards and speed to chase down loose pucks. Even though the Bruins fell one game short of a championship he was still one of Sweeney’s best pickups.
Going into next season, Coyle will again be relied on heavily. Between Boston and Minnesota last season he had 34 points. Throughout his career, he has averaged 11 goals a season and had a career-high 21 during the 2015-2016 season. If he continues to perform as he did in the playoffs then getting ten or more goals should be a fairly easy mark to reach.
When the Bruins acquired Coyle, one of his strengths was his versatility. He can move up and down the lineup and saw some time on the powerplay last year. Although the Bruins would prefer to use him at center Coyle can also play the wing allowing the Bruins to construct a deep roster.
The Bruins do not expect the Massachusetts native to be a 30 goal scorer. If he can provide 15-20 goals, then that would be a boost to the Bruins bottom six. Coyle showed good chemistry with Heinen in the playoffs, and the Bruins are hoping that will carry over into the upcoming season.
After a productive postseason run, the expectations are higher for Coyle entering his first full season wearing black and gold. If the playoffs are any indication, the Bruins forward should only continue to thrive for the team he grew up cheering for.