Reader Rating: 5.1
SCoC Rating: 4.2
I honestly, sincerely do not know how this happened.
Of all the players to go through a no-good, very bad, totally awful season, and there were some who arguably had it way worse than he did, Charlie Coyle seems like the most confusing one of all. Because the Charlie Coyle of the 2019-20 season was good! Like, genuinely a fantastic signing! People were tripping all over themselves to praise his ethic, his ability to score and he earned it!
And this year?
Gone. Almost all of it gone.
Part of it, as was most things this year, was injury. He had a series of upper body injuries that took him out of action for a bit, had multiple knee injuries that he apparently played through, and was in COVID protocol. Given the type of game Coyle plays, that is a lot of rough miles put on one body that was already anticipating some rough mileage. That left a player who still undoubtably had some ability left in him, but otherwise was just kinda...there. And that was a bad sign for a team who desperately needed Coyle to be the consistent presence that he was, because in a normal season, he’d have been likely asked to be the calming presence on a third line that has been through quite a bit of flux in the past few years, with this one being absolutely no different.
He absolutely still had flashes that he could do this!
Which unfortunately just makes the rest of his season not just frustrating, but actively concerning. Because this wasn’t just some offensively bereft year for a bottom six guy. That happens all the time and that’s okay. What made it concerning is that every facet of his play dropped. His hits were less impactful. His defense vanished. His scoring ability dwindled. His point total was cut in half from the previous year, and in general he just looked...bad for most of it, and injured in every other part.
Even in the playoffs, Coyle still showed real promise that he was going to turn a corner...and that corner never came.
Most are willing to chalk this season up to a bad injury luck. And you know what? I’m absolutely willing to believe that. He was a perfectly good player before this and he dropped like a boulder into the ocean over the course of a single season. That has to be injury luck, right? He can’t be that bad again, right?
Because the alternatives if he’s not are...well....
...Let’s just wait ‘till training camp.