Charlie Coyle grew up a Boston Bruins fan in Weymouth, Massachusetts. His dream of playing with his hometown team became a reality on February 20, 2018, when the Minnesota Wild traded Coyle to Boston in time for a run to the Stanley Cup Finals. In that postseason, Coyle had an immediate impact totaling 16 points in 24 playoff games. The local kid seemed to be a great fit right away. The next four seasons have been solid for Coyle, who has registered 89 points in the last two campaigns combined while playing all 82 games in both years. The former first-round draft pick in 2010 has been durable and consistent with Boston.
A perfect fit for Coyle has been at third-line center. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound forward plays a steady possession game, won 52.6 percent of his faceoffs in the 2022-23 season, and has developed into a 200-foot hockey player who had a career-high 59 takeaways last season. Coyle has been reliable in all facets of the game and established good chemistry with Taylor Hall and Trent Frederic. Now Hall is off to Chicago, and Coyle’s responsibilities should increase with the retirement of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. The question entering this season is whether Coyle can be a productive top-six center.
Coyle has only topped 50 points in a season one time in 2016-17 with Minnesota. The previous season is when Coyle scored a career-high 21 goals. Now at 31 years old, the Bruins will be asking Coyle to take on more of an offensive role, and it remains to be seen if the big forward can raise his level offensively to make up some of the difference from the departures of Bergeron and Krejci.
One statistic that might change significantly this season for Coyle is the offensive zone start percentage. Last season, Coyle started possessions in the offensive zone just 29 percent of the time but 70 percent in the defensive zone. This coming season, who will take on the offensive zone draws Bergeron and Krejci took for so many years? When Krejci missed the 2021-22 season to play in his native Czechia, Coyle took faceoffs in the offensive zone 52 percent of the time.
Coyle might also be called upon to see more power play time. Last season, Coyle did not register a single power play point. Pavel Zacha will probably center the first power play unit, but Coyle could see more time with the second group.
So will Charlie Coyle be able to step up his offensive production even more this season? It would be a welcome sight for Bruins fans. However, in his 12th season as an NHL player, we might have seen Coyle’s ceiling offensively already.