The Montreal Canadiens and the Minnesota Wild are both teams that have some serious work to do this summer if they want to field competitive teams in the 2018-2019 National Hockey League regular season. Despite the fact that the Minnesota Wild had a much more successful season overall they may actually have more work to do than the Canadiens due to the fact that they made the decision to fire general manager Chuck Fletcher after another early playoff exit.
That being said though these two teams may be able to help one another and they may be able to do so by revisiting a trade that was reportedly discussed prior to the trade deadline, a trade that would have seen the Wild moving one of their core players off the roster. Back in February Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman touched on the trade rumor involving Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle.
One under-the-radar player who gets asked about quite a bit: Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle. I’m told that’s not a new occurrence, and GM Chuck Fletcher gets these calls every year. So, my sense is it’s happening (again) recently. Fletcher wouldn’t comment, but I’m under the impression it would take a heck of an offer to make him even think about it. Coyle hasn’t scored as much as people thought, but he’s a physical presence who can play multiple positions, protect the puck and make you work for every inch.
Coyle is coming off a relatively poor season and that was likely one of the reasons that Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin had some interest. Obviously he is intrigued by the player but what better time to attempt to acquire him when is value could in theory be lower than it has been at other points during his career?
In a recent mail bag Minnesota Wild insider listed Coyle as one of the players that he thinks still has the most value as a trading chip, and furthermore expects that he is a player that the Wild's new general manager, whoever that may be, will get some calls about.
I’d think Coyle, Niederreiter and Jonas Brodin are three guys that the new GM will be hearing from others about. And remember, Leipold wants this team to win now, so I’d think any trade would have to be for roster players in return, not picks and prospects. The danger there is the core of this team has always shown the ability to get Minnesota in the postseason. So if you tweak too much, you could potentially be taking a step back.
The question is of course what would the Canadiens be willing do in order to secure a player like Coyle from the Wild? Coyle is not only a serviceable center, something the Canadiens desperately need, but he also comes with two more years on his contract after the conclusion of this season. The additional two years as well as the position he plays will drive up the the price for the Canadiens and the Wild's ask would be high. The Canadiens first round pick in the 2018 NHL draft seems like it would be off the table, but that is purely speculation on my part.
The Wild's ask would likely vary considerably depending on how their new general manager will view this team. If he sees potential he will likely want NHL ready players, but if not he may be willing to move Coyle for assets that will potentially pay dividends for the wild in the long term.
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