Reader Rating: 6.5
Writer Rating: 6.3
Nobody needed a decent season on the Bruins quite like Charlie Coyle coming into this year.
I know that time is now fluid to most people, but do you remember what his 2020-21 season looked like? He was honestly very bad! His knee apparently was a fine powder, and as a result it made it look like he was genuinely struggling to do basic NHL forward things! It was pretty grim!
Thankfully, it seemed like Coyle’s play stabilized. Which is good; concern over Center is a big enough problem around here without anybody else making it worse.
Free from at least some of his nagging knee injuries, Coyle is the iron man of the regular season, being the only Bruin to 100% complete it at 82 games played, and he was a much more effective player than the year previous. His goalscoring came back, and he was able to be a much more useful play in tight to the goaltender; including a pair of goals this year scored off of defenders galaxy-braining themselves while he was around them.
Further, as a special teams player, particularly on the PK, he once again showed good work and
Was his season perfect?
There’s still a reason he got a six and a half from reader and writer, give or take.
Coyle’s rebound on the scoresheet came with some heavy stretches of time where he simply could not produce much of anything, even secondary assists. That’s to be expected, Coyle is an NHL third liner and you can’t be expected to get tons of points on ten-twelve minutes a night...but over the course of the season, he ended up one of Bruce Cassidy’s comfort blankets in key situations.
There’s nothing wrong with that in theory, but guys having the same if not better impact on the same team should probably get that ice time. He had a decent playoffs, which given the eternal struggle of that line was probably for the best, but one major area of improvement he’s gonna need for 2022-23 is in the area of even strength defense.
Sometimes it felt like he was a step behind while in his own end, and that’s with everybody who should be on the ice, on the ice. Something seems to have given up the ghost with him, and it’s worrying to think a player could be having this kind of trouble in Bruce Cassidy’s “Defense is everything” system. It’s especially worrying if he ends up being a top six forward this year (It’s a non-zero possibility!!! This team gets hurt a lot!))
Still, given where he started, this is a much better place to be and hopefully something to build off of for the future with the tempered expectations of Coyle being a pretty good third line center. One would hope that the Bruins take the proper precautions to ensure he doesn’t have to take on more work than he necessarily handle.
Here’s our receipts on the defense thing. Our man is having a rough time keeping shots down when he’s on the ice.