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Coyle Debut; Wild get Aggressive Early

Todd Varga


Coyle Debut; Wild Get Aggressive Early in Short Season

Tonight the Minnesota Wild look to win their first road game of the season at the Jobbing.com arena as they face off against the Phoenix Coyotes. While the Wild definitely need the two points, there are bigger story lines at work tonight. The Wild started the season off strong, before being absolutely dominated by Ducks in Anaheim on Friday. With any momentum gone, and the Wild struggling to score goals (Yeah, I know, they’ve never had that problem before…), head coach Mike Yeo and general manager Chuck Fletcher have gone on the offensive by shaking up the lines and the roster.

Charlie Coyle was called up to the Wild roster from Houston on Saturday despite any injuries or other roster turnover. If you’re not familiar, Charlie Coyle was drafted 28th overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks. The Wild acquired him in the trade at the 2011 NHL entry Draft that sent Brent Burns and a 2nd round pick to San Jose for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle, and the 28th overall pick (Zack Phillips). Coyle is 20 years old, 6’2 205lbs, and is a big power forward with great hands. He will add skill, size, and strength (all things the Wild are missing) to the stuttering group of forwards. Coyle will skate on the second line made up of himself, Center Matt Cullen, and winger Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Coyle will also see time on the second power play unit.

So, the aggressive significant part…

Up until Friday’s debacle at the Honda Center, the Wild’s second line was Cullen-Granlund-Setoguchi. Devin Setoguchi has had a very rough start to the season. He has no goals on 10 shots and 2 points on the season. He has been largely ineffective and at times gone unnoticed on the ice, especially after opening night. Mikael Granlund has also had a rough start. After scoring his first NHL goal in the opener, he has managed just 2 assists in the 7 games since then. Granlund has also been noticeably out muscled and pushed around on the ice, leading to bad turnovers and sloppy defensive play. Both guys have been relegated to the fourth line for tonight’s game, and will be centered by Zenon Kenopka.

Yeo and Fletcher have put Setoguchi and Granlund on notice: Get your game right or you’re out. The Wild have the benefit of a great amount of depth that allow them the ability to do this type of thing that they didn’t have in previous years. Charlie Coyle can probably stick in this line up if the Wild need him to. Whether that happens or not depends largely on what affect this has on Setoguchi and Granlund. Granlund is still young (20) and is only 8 games into his NHL career. He is still adjusting to the speed and strength of NHL players. He is immensely talented, and will put in the work to be successful. He will get through this. Setoguchi on the other hand, I have real concerns about. He has just not been the same player since he came to Minnesota. He is passing up shots to make passes, something he would not do in San Jose, and one of the main reasons the Wild wanted him. I remember him describing his game in his first interview after the trade to Kevin Falness, he said very simply “I shoot the puck. I get the puck, and I shoot.” That’s not what he’s done with the Wild. There have been reports since the start of the year that he’s been on the trading block. I will be very surprised if he is with the team after the deadline.

I like the move in the sense that it sends the message to the team that there is accountability amongst the team. Let’s hope it delivers the spark they need to get going.

Thanks for Reading.

Todd Varga

On twitter @Wild_Halo


Recommended Comments

I've been waiting quite a while for Coyle's debut, I plan on catching a Wild game in the near future so I can get an accurate read on him....and I have only seen Granlund for a peiod, but he did not look out of place, should fit in nicely.

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Granlund has been disappointing thus far, he sticks to the perimeter and isn't winning many puck battles. Yeo placed both Granlund and Setoguchi on the fourth line for last nights game against the Coyotes. This team is struggling with it's secondary scoring.

Coyle looked ok out there, hope he gets a few more games to show he deserves to stay in the NHL.

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