Could Charlie Coyle be looking at top-6 minutes on the wing in 2019-20?

(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The dog days of the NHL offseason are now upon us, and with most of the frenzy that comes at the start of free agency in the rearview, it looks as though the Bruins only have one last box to check this summer — re-signing Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. 

With Boston likely needing to clear some cap space in order to absorb the hit that’s set to come once McAvoy and Carlo get their respective pay days, it looks as though any other avenues designed to add pieces to this current B’s roster are largely exhausted — barring a trade.  

So what then, about the top-six forward that Cam Neely discussed as a potential offseason target back in June? The need is still there for Boston to add a consistent, effective presence up front after David Krejci dealt with a carousel of wingers to his right for most of the 2018-19 campaign. 

But with most free agents now scooped up and with Boston focused more on retaining McAvoy/Carlo and shedding cap, it’s looking more and more likely that any top-six fix is going to come from within the Bruins organization. 

While Boston could just stand pat and see if Karson Kuhlman can hold on to the spot he seized for himself this spring, there are plenty of other options on the table. Bumping down David Pastrnak to the second line seems to be a logical option, while Danton Heinen is also an intriguing option when it comes to handing an incumbent winger heavier minutes in a top-six role. Or perhaps this is the year that other young guns like Anders Bjork or Peter Cehlarik step up?

But when it comes to adding a proven, veteran player into the mix of top-six hopefuls, one player stood out to Don Sweeney when spitballing possible contributors in such a role when asked back in June.