Ranked 19th among North American Skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings, the South Shore Kings’ Charlie Coyle is one of the strongest players to come from the EJHL in recent memory.
Coyle, who turns 18 in early March, is currently fourth in the league in scoring for the Southern Division, leading Kings with 62 points in 41 games and continues to excel despite his team’s recent four-game slump.
“We’ve had a real good season, with the exception of the last couple weeks,” said South Shore Assistant Coach Ken Frates. “We’re in a little bit of rut, but Charlie’s not the reason. Charlie has been great. He comes to practice every day, works hard and does all the things we ask him to do.”
At 6’2, 207 lbs, Coyle is among the most physically gifted players in the 2010 draft class.
“He’s a big kid,” said Frates. “He’s a powerful skater, a strong skater, and he can protect the puck real well along the boards.”
Coyle plays at center most often for the Kings, but is also used on the right wing. He plays on a line with winger Chris Wagner, the EJHL’s leading scorer (82 points in 43 games), and a fellow 2010 draft-eligible. Wagner is ranked 178th among North American skaters.
On the power play, Coyle plays the point and utilizes his impressive vision and range of passing.
“He sees the ice extremely well,” said Frates, “better than most kids at this level and I think that that is going to bode well for him going forward.”
Despite the positives, Coyle recognizes that there are areas of his game he needs to work on, namely his acceleration.
“I definitely need to work on the first three steps in my skating,” said the Weymouth, MA native. “Acceleration and changing directions are things I’ve targeted to work on.”
When asked whether he looks to the NHL for inspiration on his game, Coyle cannot pinpoint a single player he resembles.
“I’ve tried to look for that player that I play like and I can’t really pick one out,” he said. “I try to take little things from each player and put them together. I try to be as complete a player as I can.”
Although there were rumors that Coyle would spend a year in the USHL with the Indiana Ice before moving to the NCAA, it is now almost certain that he will join Jack Parker’s Boston University Terriers starting in the fall of 2010, a move the South Shore coaching staff feels is coming at the right time.
“I think he is going to be a very good college player,” said Frates. “He’ll go to BU next year and he’ll step right in. I think there will be an adjustment period, but he definitely has all the abilities and all the skills to step right into that level.”
For Coyle, the decision to attend BU was an easy decision and marks the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
“My cousin Tony Amonte went to BU so I’ve always dreamed of going there and they were the first school to talk to me," he said. "It’s my dream school and I wouldn’t say no to them.”
With the 2010 NHL Draft on the horizon, Coyle admits it is hard to ignore speculation about his professional future.
“You can’t not think about it,” he said, “but I don’t want to let it get to me and put pressure on me, I just want to keep playing the way I play and hopefully everything will work out.”
Coyle is continually being evaluated by scouts, with New Jersey among teams watching him in the recent away trip against the division rival Hitmen.
With the EJHL regular season winding down, Coyle will be expected to play a significant role in South Shore’s playoff run.
Coyle is projected to go in the late first or early second round of the NHL Draft. He will likely be the highest taken plaeyr out of the EJHL. Five players were drafted out of the EJHL in 2009.