The reviews are in and the the name Charlie Coyle is one that Minnesota Wild fans had better get used to hearing in the very near future. The former first-round draft pick has the Wild organization abuzz given his fine start with the AHL affiliation Houston Aeros. If his solid two-way game that was on public display on Sunday night at the Xcel Energy Center is any indication, Coyle could be in the Wild lineup as soon as the lockout ends.
John Torchetti, the Aeros head coach told Michael Russo of the Tribune that Coyle has a bright future with the Wild.
”He’s going to make an impact on the Wild for two reasons: He’s no-maintenance, high-character and he is so good, so willing defensively. He has been our most consistent, complete forward night in and night out since the start of the year.”
It’s this type of player that most NHL teams would drool over the thought of having in the minor leagues and given how quickly Coyle has adopted to the pro level, making the next step to the elite level will come as no surprise to anyone.
A power forward who has soft hands is a rare find and Torchetti told Russo how he’s impressed with Coyle’s skating and willingness to get dirty. You could compare him to a Wendel Clark or Cam Neely type; a rugged forward who will bang and crash, win the battles in the corners and put the puck in the net as evidenced by his team leading seven goals through 16 games with the Aeros. His thirteen points also have him tied for the team lead. Not bad for a 20-year old in his rookie season at the pro ranks.
This type of player will fit in nicely with the Wild, complimenting the high flying goal scores of Zach Parise and Dany Heatley. He can create room for the snipers while creating something out of nothing down low in the offensive zone. Adding another gritty forward will bolster the Wild’s lineup, making them a difficult team to play against. Imagine having both Cal Clutterbuck and Charlie Coyle on the same line, banging bodies around?
It’s becoming evident as to why the Wild were willing to part ways with defenceman Brent Burns in a trade with the San Jose Sharks back in 2011 at the NHL Entry Draft. Coyle was the key to the trade despite the Wild getting under performing forward Devin Setoguchi. Russo notes that the deal may not have happened had the Sharks not included Coyle in the package. Recently we re-evaluated the deal here at Gone Puck Wild that has Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher grinning from ear to ear after obtaining Coyle.
For Coyle, the debate about where he should finish this season will likely take place if the NHL lockout ever does end. Some will say he should season a little more in the AHL while there will be those that believe he should cut his teeth at the top level. Given how well he’s fit in this season in a transition of playing with boys to men, I wouldn’t doubt it if we see Coyle dawning the Wild jersey full-time after camp breaks and the season begins. All we need now is a new CBA and then we can watch Coyle amaze us all with what he can do.
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