By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter / X @adbblue
After Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement this past off-season, the Boston Bruins needed someone to step up and at least somewhat fill his role. Someone has done that, and it can be argued he has filled Bergeron’s shoes and then some this season. That someone is Charlie Coyle.
The Weymouth, MA native is on pace to have his highest point production season of his NHL career. His offensive game has reached a whole nother level, which has greatly impacted the Bruins’ success. Coyle has more points through 48 games, with 41, than Bergeron did at that point last season.
He has 17 goals, which is one more than he had at that point last season, and his line right now is 17-24-41, and he has a +11 rating. He’s only seven points shy of being a point-per-game player. The ability to protect the puck so well is what Coyle’s built on the most. He’s built great chemistry with Brad Marchand, and the two have mostly played together since the beginning of the season. Coyle also seems faster this year and is almost always first to the puck. His vision has been tremendous as well, finding open guys to help produce high-quality chances.
The most impressive part about Coyle’s offensive production is he’s contributing in a variety of ways, whether it’s winning puck battles on the boards, going hard to the net, or creating offense off the rush with or without the puck. Game by game, all the small details he has always done so well are more enhanced than we’ve ever seen from the centerman with Boston. The former San Jose Sharks first-round pick has rightfully earned the number one center role.
His recent stretch has been arguably the best of his 12-year NHL career. After not having a point in six straight games from December 13th to the 23rd, he’s recorded 18 points in his last 16 games. The former Boston University Terrier has been one of the most consistent contributors for the Bruins, averaging 18:05 a game, fourth on the team among forwards. He also recorded his first career NHL hat trick this season, which came back on November 9th against the New York Islanders.
Furthermore, Coyle has taken on a larger power-play role this season. He primarily plays on the second unit, averaging 1:29 per game, and has four goals and an assist on the man advantage. He does a great job of playing that net-front role and has great hand-eye coordination. Power play or not, the ability to score goals in different ways is another thing that has stood out with Coyle this season.
With an annual cap hit of $5.25 million, the Bruins are getting a really good deal with the production they are getting from him. Most number-one centers around the league have much higher contracts than that, and Boston still has Coyle with a term for two more seasons at the same number. And all general manager Don Sweeney had to give up for him was Ryan Donato and a fourth-round pick.