Bruins

Finding the right pieces to fit on Charlie Coyle’s line continues to be a work in progress

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

For as much as David Krejci has been stuck on a near endless search for the right personnel to slot on his line, Charlie Coyle hasn't been that far behind when it comes to driving a forward trio without a set group of wingers night in and night out.

A third line of Coyle, Danton Heinen and Marcus Johansson played a major role in Boston's run to the Cup Final in 2019, but the 2019-20 campaign was a different story for the Weymouth native — as Coyle was part of 19 (!) different line combinations that logged at least 15 minutes of 5v5 ice time together.

So far in 2021, Coyle has skated with four lines that recorded at least 10 5v5 minutes together as a group — although the lineup shuffling so this year has been more of a byproduct of injuries than Bruce Cassidy's desire to juggle his bottom-six groupings.

For Coyle, who is at his best down the middle — and with some regular faces to his left and right —  carving out a defined unit on the third line could become a reality in the coming weeks, especially with Jake DeBrusk back in the fold and Ondrej Kase getting closer to a return.

You could make the case that Boston's forward depth is the best it's been in years with the additions of other wingers like Craig Smith, Nick Ritchie and Trent Frederic, but which skaters are the best fit to compliment Coyle and the puck-possession prowess he brings?