Don Sweeney kicked off the Bruins’ trade deadline wheelin’ and dealin’ early today, sending Ryan Donato and a 5th-round pick to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for center/RW Charlie Coyle, who just so happens to be from the Greater Boston area. NEAT.
Coyle is a guy who some Bruins fans have had eyes on for a while. Why? Probably a mixture of a semi-power forward game, some decent offensive skills and the fact that he’s local. Everyone loves a local guy!
Now that Coyle is unofficially officially in the fold, where does he fit in the Bruins’ lineup? Coyle is a right-shot forward who can play both center and right wing. Those happen to be areas of need for the Bruins, albeit on different lines.
The guess is that Bruce Cassidy chooses to move Coyle around until he gets a better feel for how he’s going to use him, but he’s faced with three real options.
This is the most obvious spot for Coyle, as the Bruins have had a hole at 3C since approximately 1955. Trent Frederic has done fine, but hasn’t done anything do solidify that spot. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson couldn’t seize that spot, and neither could David Backes and any number of others.
Coyle has put up the majority of his points at even strength this season, which has to be appealing for Cassidy. Adding a solid 5v5 player to that third line could help take some of the load off the top-two lines.
Since Coyle has the ability to play right wing, Cassidy could also slot him on David Krejci’s right. While Coyle isn’t exactly the Milan Lucic/Nathan Horton/Jarome Iginla power forward that Krejci seems to love, he could help drive offense on that line.
Putting Coyle on Krejci’s line could help make that second unit a bit more dangerous, and would also allow the Bruins to continue to ice their mega line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.
This one is less likely, but if the Bruins end up standing pat at the deadline after this move (which seems unlikely, but still), Coyle could line up on Patrice Bergeron’s right.
Coyle might add some heaviness to that line, creating space for Bergeron and Marchand to light it up. It would also allow David Pastrnak to move to the second line, where he and Krejci could feast on the opposition’s lesser defense pairs.
However, it would be tough to break up what is such a good first line in order to slot in a guy who isn’t exactly known as an offensive powerhouse.
Thoughts? 3C seems like the most likely scenario, but he could see some time at 2RW (or even 1RW) depending on how the rest of the deadline goes.