By: Patrick Donnelly
With just a few more days remaining until the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday at 3 p.m., the Bruins went out and acquired forward Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild for forward Ryan Donato and a conditional 2019 fifth-round pick in Don Sweeney’s quest to acquire every NHL-er under the sun from New England.
While it remains to be seen whether or not Sweeney is done dealing ahead of the deadline, this move is one that helps the Bruins immediately and bodes well for a playoff run.
Coyle, 26, has skated in 60 games for the Wild this season with 10 goals, 18 assists, and 28 points on the year, and is on pace for 14 goals, 25 assists and 39 points. Over his seven-year career, Coyle has a total of 91 goals, 151 assists, and 242 points in 479 career games-played.
Coyle has scored 21 goals and 18 goals in previous seasons, and has eclipsed 35 points four times with totals of 56, 35, 37 and 42 points in years prior as well. The Boston University product can play both wing and center, and based of Sweeney’s comments to the media, it seems like the Bruins will mainly utilize him at center on the third line.
If he is not at 3C, the Bruins can easily rely on Coyle to play anywhere else in the top-nine, most likely on David Krejci’s right on the second trio. So, Coyle can fill one hole for the Bruins (3C) one minute, or another (2RW) the next.
Coyle can also be used on the power play, especially on the second unit, where he can set up in front of the net in place of David Backes, instantly upgrading the second power play.
The East Weymouth, MA native brings a big body to the Bruins lineup at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds. Coyle also adds speed as well as a solid net-front presence and shot to the Bruins’ middle-six.
The 28th-overall pick in the 2011 draft, Coyle has reportedly fallen victim to confidence issues during his career, though. So, one would hope he’d be proud and rejuvenated to join his hometown team with an extremely strong leadership group and great coaching staff.
As for what the Bruins gave up, the draft pick becomes a fourth-rounder (NYR) should the Bruins advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season. Mid-round draft picks often see a lower-percentage chance of guys who will actually make it to the NHL, but that’s not to say the player who ends up being selected by Minnesota won’t go on to have a nice career. At the end of the day, the Bruins held on to their higher picks, most importantly the first-rounder, which was priority one; they could afford to ship this pick out.
On the other hand, to put it bluntly, losing Donato sucks in all honesty. The Harvard product is still a fine prospect with an elite, accurate shot. The 22-year-old isn’t necessarily the fastest skater, and is a one-dimensional player as of right now; although, the Bruins did not really do much to develop his weaknesses and defensive inefficiencies. Donato was never really in a position to thrive with the Bruins as he was merely utilized on only the third line and the power play, really.
With 46 games of NHL experience (with 11 goals and seven assists for 18 points) between part of last season and this year, the book is still out on the winger, had spent the last month or so with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL-affiliate, in his second stint with the team. Donato had a total of seven goals, five assists, and 12 points in 18 games for Providence. He is set to suit up for Minnesota in their matchup on Thursday night against the New York Rangers, wearing No. 6.
Donato will undoubtedly go one to have a good career in the NHL as his offensive talent is undeniable. While the Bruins may be giving up on Donato too early in the opinions of some, he was ultimately expendable in the Bruins’ system simply because the organization is still LOADED in terms of young forward talent between Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, Jack Studnicka, Peter Cehlarik, Karson Kuhlman, Jakob Lauko, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Anders Bjork, etc.
The Bruins are saving themselves from another issue this summer as Donato is slated to become a restricted free agent, so Coyle also brings stability to the Bruins’ contract structure for next season.
Again, trading for Coyle instantly improves this Bruins team, which is on a roll and on its way to the playoffs. The Bruins can now finally trot out a decent-looking third line in addition to a potential solution at second line right wing, depending on where Coyle is used. The forward should be available for the Bruins’ Saturday matinee in St. Louis, and will wear No. 13 on his sweater.
The Bruins also may very well lead the entire NHL in former BU players as they now have four: Coyle, Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzlecyk, and JFK. Also, the team now has two Charlie’s, on a not-so serious note.
This trade alone may not be enough to put the Bruins over the top, though. In an ideal world, Sweeney goes out and makes another trade to address the need on the second line, and Coyle is your third line center; however, Sweeney indicated today that the Bruins could be done dealing. Time will only tell as we approach 3 p.m. on Monday.