By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Charlie Coyle was ready to depart for a road trip with the rest of his Wild teammates when he noticed a missed call from Minnesota general manager Paul Fenton. Coyle, who has been involved in trade rumors all season, knew what was coming.
But the Weymouth, Mass. native, acquired for Ryan Donato and a draft pick and who departed Minnesota having posted 10 goals and 28 points in 60 games this season, knows that he could have landed in places a lot worse than Boston.
"I think it’s going to be a good change of scenery," Coyle admitted of the trade. "I think obviously going into a real winning culture here with the Bruins and the success they’ve had over the years, I’m really excited about that. I don’t know what to call it, but I’m just excited to be a part of that and bring my game, what I do well and see how that goes."
A player with experience at center and on the wing, the Bruins view Coyle as the fix to their year-long problems in the middle of their third line, and as a piece entering his prime after having scored 21 goals in 2015-16 and 56 points in 2016-17.
It's also a mere bonus that the right-shot forward is signed beyond just this season, too, at an affordable $3.2 million cap hit through the 2019-20 season.
And while Coyle isn't thinking about a long-term future in Boston just yet, he does feel comfortable doing whatever Bruce Cassidy needs out of him down the stretch for a team that he doesn't want to 'hold down' with his play.
"I think as long as I’m playing in that position, whatever position and I play it well and get better at it," Coyle, who skated as a center for the Wild prior to their trade for Victor Rask, said. "I started to find my stride this year. I felt comfortable and then obviously if my teammates make changes if he moves to the wing, and I start to find a groove in there as well."
The Bruins themselves, meanwhile, admitted that Coyle's local ties were part of the appeal that came with this acquisition.
That's not always a surefire recipe for success (Donato and Jimmy Hayes are recent examples of this), but Coyle feels capable of handling such challenges, and couldn't help but smile at the thought of putting on a show for his friends and family.
"I think when you’re a little kid playing and fall in love with the game, you’ve got the big dreams and you want to play," Coyle, a teenage teammate and close friend of current B's forward Chris Wagner, began. "I’m watching more Bruins games growing up in the Boston area, so that’s what you vision when you’re playing street hockey in your house or in practice or just skating on the pond when you’re younger.
"You envision you’re playing for the hometown team, and I definitely did some of that when I was younger."
Coyle, who will wear No. 13 in Boston, will make his Bruins debut Saturday afternoon against the St. Louis Blues. He will begin that night centering a Boston third line with David Backes and Joakim Nordstrom (or Peter Cehlarik).
"It’s a cool moment right now and I don’t think it’s fully hit me," Coyle admitted. "But I’m pretty excited."