He’s only been a part of the Bruins organization for just under eight months, but based on his local ties, community involvement and play on the ice, you’d think that Charlie Coyle has been a key cog with the B’s for years now.
After emerging as one of Boston’s playoff heroes last spring on the road to the Stanley Cup Final (nine goals, 16 points during postseason play), Coyle has continued to engrain himself within Boston’s lineup — addressing a major vacancy by anchoring the third-line pivot position.
And while Coyle has fit in rather seamlessly with his new club, if we were to rewind back to last February, the consensus on the day that Don Sweeney pulled the trigger on the deal to bring the Weymouth native aboard was much more mixed.
Now, most of second guessing had little to do with Coyle, who addressed an obvious need on the 2018-19 Bruins while bringing versatility and even-strength scoring punch to a B’s team in need of contributions beyond the likes of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.
Rather, most of the criticism revolved around the cost that the Bruins had to pay in order to pry Coyle out of Minnesota, with the Wild acquiring promising forward Ryan Donato and a conditional fifth-round pick (later became a fourth-rounder) in the transaction.
Even if the Harvard product failed to really hit the ground running in his first full season in Boston (six goals, nine points in 34 games with the Bruins), there was still an awful lot to like about Donato and his potential in the NHL.
Armed with a lethal, heavy shot and a propensity to use said shot early and often (75 SOG with Boston), Donato seemed like a lock to be regular 25-goal scorer up in the NHL ranks — with the 22-year-old validating those thoughts after racking up 16 points in his first 22 games with his new club in 2019.
As such, when the deal went down, I made comparisons to another trade in which Boston solved a major need but surrendered a promising piece of the future — the 2011 trade that brought Rich Peverley to Boston for a Cup run in exchange for future star Blake Wheeler.
Now, we’re only looking at the early returns in the Coyle/Donato trade, to be fair. But even with just the initial eye test, you’d have to think that Sweeney managed to