The Bruins acquired 26-year-old forward Charlie Coyle to provide depth for the team’s lineup and acquire versatility up and down the four forward lines, general manager Don Sweeney said today in a conference call.
The Bruins traded 22-year-old forward Ryan Donato and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft to the Minnesota Wild Wednesday to get Coyle, who has scored 28 points in 60 games this season.
“He has been used a lot at wing in a top six role,” Sweeney said. “He’s a definitive top nine player that’s been in the top four or five players in Minnesota for the past five years in 5-on-5 production, so he can help drive a line as well as support and complement players in a production role if you play him with [David] Krejci, or who knows, breaking up the top line and playing against heavier groups.”
The trade came after the Bruins spent much of the season auditioning younger forwards such as Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Trent Frederic at the third line center position. Sweeney said he has not been disappointed with Forsbacka Karlsson’s development, and that Frederic remains in the midst of his “indoctrination” in the NHL.
Sweeney said he may not make other additions to the Bruins’ roster before the league’s trade deadline on Feb. 25. He said that coach Bruce Cassidy has enjoyed getting to know rookie winger Karson Kuhlman, who was called up from AHL Providence on Feb. 13, and that the team could see winger Peter Cehlarik return to the NHL roster after he recovers from a minor injury.
“We gotta stay healthy,” Sweeney said. “That’s one of the paramount things going down the stretch — you know the compression of the schedule. So will we look at adding more depth? Possibly. But we feel good about where we’re at. We’re comfortable.”
While Sweeney acknowledged Coyle’s ability to play center and right wing, he said he sees the Weymouth native mostly centering the team’s third line in an effort to create matchup problems for opposing teams.
“I like his size and strength in the middle of the ice. Watching him play the wing, he’s not necessarily a shoot first guy,” Sweeney said. “He’s a possession player. Can he complement? Certainly, and he can score, but he’s a bit unselfish in that regard. He’s put up anywhere from 50 to 30 points, he’s a consistent player, like I said the 5-on-5 production is there, and I believe he’s going to come in and complement our group.”
Coyle was rumored to be a trade target for Boston for much of this season. Sweeney noted the team spoke to Bruins forward Chris Wagner, who played with Coyle in junior hockey, about how Coyle may handle returning to his hometown. Wagner, 27, hails from Walpole and is on track for a career-best season in his first year with the Bruins.
“It does add another layer that you need to sort of identify, openly discuss, and really, tap into the resources you have to identify whether or not that player will be able to thrive in that marketplace,” Sweeney said. “We feel comfortable in this regard, and hopefully we’re right.”
Coyle will see his first action with the Bruins when the team visits the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 23.