Charlie Coyle knew there was a chance he’d be traded, for many rumors surfaced during his final days with the Minnesota Wild. The veteran forward just didn’t know where he’d end up.
Ultimately, the Boston Bruins acquired Coyle from the Wild on Feb. 20, marking a homecoming for the Weymouth, Mass., native who played college hockey at Boston University. He since has become a key contributor for the Eastern Conference’s representative in the Stanley Cup Final, so it would be an understatement to say things have worked out well for both sides.
The Athletic’s Michael Russo recently caught up with Coyle to discuss his midseason trade to Boston and how he’s adjusted to life with the Bruins after spending parts of seven seasons with the Wild. Coyle revealed some of the chaos that initially took place upon learning after a neuromuscular therapy session that he’d been traded to an unknown destination.
“I had a missed call and a text from ( Wild general manager) Paul (Fenton), and so I just knew, obviously,” Coyle told Russo in a phone interview this week. “I called him and he told me I was involved in a trade, so don’t go on the (team) plane. But he couldn’t tell me where I was going yet because it’s not finalized. He felt really bad about it.
“It was so weird because suddenly I’m at a place where I’m not on an NHL team for however many hours. I don’t know where I am. I can’t say goodbye to my teammates. It’s so hard to tell my family, my girlfriend, my friends, ‘I’m traded, we’re going somewhere … but I don’t know where yet.’ ”
Coyle grew fond of Minnesota after landing there in 2011. He blossomed into a solid NHL player there and had aspirations of someday winning a Stanley Cup with the Wild. But hockey is a business, and the Bruins coveted Coyle’s size, versatility and scoring touch, whereas the Wild liked the opportunity to acquire Ryan Donato and a draft pick amid an up-and-down season.
While Fenton couldn’t provide all of the details until the trade was finalized, the Wild GM did inform Coyle he’d be “OK” with the deal. After all, Coyle, a huge Bruins fan as a kid, was headed home.
“So, I’m like, alright, it’s going to be at least a Cup contender, a playoff contender, or it’s got to be the B’s,” Coyle told Russo, looking back on the day he was traded to Boston. “That’s the best-case scenario, the B’s, right? But I don’t want to get my hopes up.
“So I get home, and I’m refreshing Twitter, and I got the NHL Network on. I’m trying, like, anything. I called my agents. I’m asking my dad. He’s asking around, buddies, everything. I’m like, ‘Someone find out where!’ ”
It’s weird being traded, especially after such a lengthy stint with your first organization. It’s even weirder being traded but not knowing for a little bit where you’re going. But that’s what Coyle experienced back in February, making the subsequent journey even crazier to comprehend in hindsight.