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Charlie Coyle looks to be Minnesota’s next breakout star

Aug 20, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT

Charlie Coyle AP

One of the things that helped attract Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to Minnesota last summer was the wealth of young talent in the Wild pipeline. Last season, a few of those guys had a chance to show what they were made of.

You know all about Calder Trophy finalist defenseman Jonas Brodin by now, but the guy who might be the biggest key is forward Charlie Coyle.

Coyle broke out last season and earned a spot on the Wild’s top line playing right wing alongside Parise and Mikko Koivu. After tallying eight goals and six assists in 37 games and adding two more helpers in the playoffs, he showed that he’s got the game to keep up with the big boys.

This season, Coyle could start as the team’s second line center but will have to beat out fellow top prospect Mikael Granlund to do it.

Before you question that, know that Coyle’s natural position is at the pivot and both he and Granlund have tremendous offensive upside. After seeing Granlund bounce between the Wild and the AHL last season, you have to think Coyle has the advantage.

What’s important to note here is that one of those two players has to step up for the Wild to be a playoff team again. Minnesota’s dedication to them ensured that Matt Cullen would leave as a free agent, signing with Nashville for two years.

Kyle Brodziak is a solid centerman, but if the Wild are counting on him to play on the second line should Coyle or Granlund struggle, that’s a bad sign. If there’s something a team counting on young players to step up doesn’t need it’s seeing both of their top prospects fall short of expectations.

Given what Coyle showed last season and the confidence GM Chuck Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo have shown in him, things are looking up for fans in Minnesota.

  1. greej1938l - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Coyles a stud!

    • valoisvipers - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      14 Points in 37 games does not a stud make.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        It’s pretty good for a rookie in a short season without a preseason.

      • lbeezyse - Aug 20, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        If Coyle solidifies his position at #2 center he very well could be close to a point per game player. Being flanked by Heater & Zucker, who are both shooters should give him a pile of assists. Coyle will work the corners & feed the shooters. Don’t forget that he has a snipe himself & can bury the puck. After watching last year, you know he isn’t afraid to score those trashy goals that this team will need in order to be successful.

        If it were up to me, Coyle would be centering Parise & Pommer next year. I thought Parise & Coyle showed some chemistry last year as Parise & Koivu didn’t click all year IMO. Koivu plays better defense & can shut down other teams top lines, but leaves a lot to be desired on the offensive side. If Parise continues to play a great two way game & Pommer pitches in a little they should mask any early inefficiencies that Coyle may have on the back end. Koivu/Zucker/Heatley sounds like a pretty good second line to me & you will need someone like Koivu to clean up on the defensive side after Zucker & Heatley make a mess of it.

      • credible316 - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        That was cool of yoda to leave a comment!

      • valoisvipers - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        Phillyphanatic77 He was playing with Miko and Zach so I don’t think 14 points is great. Perhaps someday the kid will be a stud but for now he is a long ways off. Matt Read had a much better rookie year(2012) playing on all four lines, not just the top line.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:23 AM

        @lbeezyse: The Parise-Coyle-Pville line makes a lot of sense. It’s been assumed, and never challenged, that Koivu is the Wild’s #1 center, and thus far he has been, but it’s debatable if he’d be one on most other teams. He’s developed quite well and does a lot of things big and small right, but why not give Coyle a shot at taking that role? In all seriousness, putting Koivu with Zucker and Heatley isn’t much of a demotion; they’d essentially have 2 fairly evenly matched lines with no glaring problems (aside from Heater’s massive drop in production but we already knew that).

  2. credible316 - Aug 20, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Don’t forget about Zucker!!

  3. bdnnbd - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Been waiting for this day for two measly articles?!

  4. twinwildflyer - Aug 20, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Read was also 25 years old as a rookie and not only 20 like coyle. But yes, power forwards usually take longer to develop.

  5. amityvillefun - Aug 20, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Bruins fan here. I’m sure this kid was bred on Black and Gold hockey being a native of Weymouth, MA! You are doing your hometown proud Charlie Coyle. Best of luck in this upcoming season.

  6. wowzer55 - Aug 20, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    This is the most half a$$ed written article and I know I should (and normally do) expect this but how long have you guys been planning for this day!?
    -Brodin should have been but in fact was not a Calder finalist.
    -Matt Cullen is gone because we weren’t going to pay him 3.5 mil at age 36.

  7. rebekah319 - Aug 20, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    For being a rookie in his first year in the NHL last year Coyle showed he has what it takes to play at a high level. He earned his top line spot last year and still has plenty of growing to do on the ice plus it never hurts to learn from good people. Coyle has a great future ahead of him and I cant wait to see what he does this year!

  8. ray2013 - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    I find it interesting that Coyle has leapt over Granlund. This time last year, Wild fans on this site kept touting the skill and potential of Granlund as a future star in the NHL. One year later, and this article talks of Granlund as an afterthought.

    Were predictions of Granlund’s future stardom just overblown hype?

    • lbeezyse - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      I think Granny was a bit overhyped. You can understand that from a fan base that watched DR take our prospect system to the cleaners. He was the first blue chip prospect we had seen in years. I don’t think he was ready for the style of the North American game. He’ll adjust over time. He does need to get stronger on his skates though. He got pushed around too much last year. The guy has wicked talent, but he needs to put it all together now.

      • ray2013 - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        When I was reading about the potential of Granlund, it made me think about the young blue-chippers in Edmonton. They all have high end skill. They can dazzle you at times throughout a game and throughout a season, but these young Oilers have taken several seasons to develop any type of consistency throughout the regular season, and that’s without any major changes like Granlund went through. Wild fans, imo, were over-eager to anoint him a future star. There’s a long road from blue-chipper to star. Very few make the jump overnight, and some never make the jump (Gilbert Brule, anyone?). Hopefully with less pressure and some time in the minors, he can make his adjustments without all the fan pressure.

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