The Minnesota Wild hosted the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and they made quite a splash during the first day when they announced they had pulled off a trade that would see them acquire forward Charlie Coyle from the San Jose Sharks. The announcement sent the crowd into a frenzy as stated by fellow Gone Puck Wild writer Scott Drain who was at the draft. In the words of Drain, “Coyle is a stud” and Wild fans have to be ecstatic about having the youngster apart of the organization, enforcing the fact that the Wild won the trade even if it may take a year or two to prove.
The deal also saw the Wild acquire Devin Setoguchi and a first round draft pick in the ’11 draft and at the time the deal was all about Setoguchi for Brent Burns. But Coyle was the key factor in the trade that made Wild GM Chuck Fletcher part ways with Burns, a highly sought after defenceman.
Last season Setoguchi recorded 19 goals and 17 assists, good for 36 points in 66 games with the Wild, his first season in Minnesota. The former first round pick of the Sharks potted 31 goals in his rookie season, but the 25-year old has failed to live up to the hype since, recording more than 36 points only once in the past three seasons.
Burns on the other hand delivered the kind of performance that made San Jose want to acquire the 2003 first round draft pick, collecting 37 points and a solid plus-8 rating in 81 games. His point total was the third highest of the 27-year old’s seven year career, arguably proving that San Jose had scooped Burns while giving up a disappointing Setoguchi. But remember, Coyle was the main part of the deal that had the Wild drooling at the thought of acquiring the shifty forward.
The Sharks took Coyle 28th overall in the 2010 draft and when the need to shore up their blue line became a pressing matter, Coyle became expendable and the Wild were an excellent trading partner.
He’s been a point per game player dating back to his two years spent at Boston University where he put up 54 points in 53 games before heading to the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. There Coyle would tally 38 points in 23 game during the 2011-12 season further proving he was ready to make the next jump to semi-pro where the real test would come playing against men.
So far this season for the Houston Aeros, Coyle has not disappointed. Through the first 13 games Coyle has 9 points, 7 of which are goals that have him tied for the lead among rookies. Not bad for a 20-year old’s first professional season. If he can continue to light the lamp for the Aeros up until the NHL resumes (or should I say if it resumes this year) then Coyle will have a legitimate chance of making the Wild’s roster, further fulfilling his dreams of playing in the show.
While some may beg to differ in saying that Coyle is best suited to stay in the AHL for the full season to help fine tune his game, the Wild may be ready for the Massachusetts native to suit up full time, especially if he were to fill the net at a torrid pace for a rookie.
Regardless of where Coyle ends up playing the rest of this season, one thing is certain; the Minnesota Wild have a bright, young star on their hands and while it cost them a great d-man to get him, the trade that brought Charlie Coyle to Minnesota is one that they’ll be glad they made. Not only potentially for this season, but for many more to come.
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