May 5, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle (63) hits Chicago Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik (67) during the first period in game three of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres Wish List #25: Charlie Coyle

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Buffalo Sabres fans, I am nearly at the end of Wish List.  So far, I’ve been pretty good about sticking to my rule – namely, selecting one, non-marquee talent from each team in the NHL that I would like to see play for the Sabres – but in my last post, I broke my rule and picked two players.  My bad.  Hey – picking just one guy from the Edmonton Oilers was not easy!

Settling on one guy from the Minnesota Wild, however, was.

Charlie Coyle, F

Sep 25, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle (3) scores on St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) in the third period at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeat the Blues 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

As the regular season fast approaches, there has been an awful lot of debate about who on the Sabres should play on the first line alongside Thomas Vanek and  Cody Hodgson. Marcus Foligno has seen his name bandied about a bit, including a post I wrote on this site two weeks ago.  Why?  Because his hulking frame and rugged style of play would give the first line a physical presence that it has sorely been missing.

Well, whatever Foligno can do, Coyle might be able to do, better.

Before I get ahead of myself, it’s true: Coyle just finished his rookie season with the Wild, so the jury is still out on him.  His numbers from last year are pretty good (8-6-14) and he even managed to pick up two assists in a laughably uneven first round match-up with the Chicago Blackhawks in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

You can often find Coyle going hard after the puck along the boards when he is in the offensive zone, and he is quick to fall back on defense, as well.  Those two factors alone are enough to warrant his jumping into the Sabres’ first line.   He uses his body often, but wisely: he only drew 28 minutes worth of penalties in 37 games last year, a pretty low number for a power forward.  Coyle is also tough to knock off of his feet, and strong enough to fight off opponents who would like nothing better to get the puck off of his stuck – only 9 giveaways all of last season!  Hey – when you possess the puck, you increase your odds of scoring.  Pretty advanced stuff, I know!

Oh, and did I mention he spent a boatload of time skating with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu on the Wild’s first line last season?  No?  Must have slipped my mind.

He’s big; plays physical; has a two-way game; and he studied at the Parise-Koivu School of Hockey last season.  Minnesota obviously sees something in him – he averaged around 25 shifts a game in the Wild’s series against the Blackhawks, an impressive amount for a rookie.  Sounds like a kid qualified enough to apply for admission to the Vanek-Hodgson School of Sabretology, doesn’t it?

What are your thoughts on Charlie Coyle?  Is there someone else you would take from the Minnesota Wild?  Let”s chat, or Tweet @theamazingMrS!

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