Coyle: May I have some more, please?
Image courtesy of © Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY SportsLike some others out there, I’ve been critical of Coyle the past few years. It’s like we’ve been waiting for the “kid” to develop his hockey chops. Sometimes I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’d like to see more from him.
He’s in his fifth season in the NHL, though his first season he played 37 games in the NHL and 47 in the AHL with the Houston Aeros as a 20-year-old. So alright, he played 70 games the next season for 12 goals and 30 points. The last two years he’s played all 82 in the regular season, but in 2014-15 he only scored 11 goals in that full season. Last year was better, with 21 goals and 21 assists for 42 points.
Now this year, too, he’s at the top of the team stats leaderboard. Granted, it’s not like he’s among the Blackhawks or Penguins, but it’s still worth noting. He’s done a good job so far this season contributing on the scoresheet. A bit of a quiet leader.
So why do I feel so underwhelmed?
He’s a little bit like Granlund in this respect: There are flashes of greatness. Why doesn’t that happen more often? There will be some great, athletic scoring play or a nice pass he makes. Something that makes you say “wow.” That’s what has me wanting more. If you can play like that sometimes, why not most of the time?
The big problem that many have acknowledged with this team is the lack of finishers. The lack of pure goal scorers. Coyle was supposed to be one of these guys, right? Maybe, maybe not. Or maybe he still could turn into something, too. Even though he’s played in the NHL for a few seasons, he’s still a young guy entering what should be the prime of his career. Sometimes that’s forgotten as the fan base gets impatient with the lack of results from the team.
I’m encouraged by Coyle’s season last year and what’s he has done so far in 2016-17. I’d like to see him continue to elevate his game and continue to put points on the board.
There’s another thing that digs at me with Coyle, too. I think I also like to point the finger at him indirectly for the lack of toughness on the Wild squad. This fella is a 6-3, 220-pound hockey player who could stand to capitalize on his size just a bit more. I’m not necessarily referring to fighting. Just a few more aggressive checks once in a while, or this concept of standing up for your teammates after the whistle might be up his alley.
Thank goodness there’s Chris Stewart to help fill that void, I suppose.
I don’t mean to be unfair to Coyle. I’m not trying to be a hater and say he’s just terrible. He isn’t. But again, there’s just something about him that I can’t put my finger on and leaves me wanting more. Maybe it’s being greedy, or maybe it’s just another nice thing we’d like to have in Minnesota sports.
What are your thoughts on Coyle? Am I being too hard on the leading goal scorer?
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