Bruins fans got something to definitely be thankful for on Wednesday when the team announced it signed Charlie Coyle to a six-year contract extension. Coyle has been a huge part of Boston's offense since he was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild last February. However, some are questioning whether six years is too long, even for Coyle.
The short answer: it's not. Please allow me to explain my rationale.
First, and perhaps most importantly, the Bruins may not have been able to re-sign Coyle at all without offering a decent term length. As much as fans love to hate on Boston general manager Don Sweeney's contract negotiations skills, this is a good deal.
The summer of 2019 was very much a player-friendly offseason in terms of contract negotiations. Consider the fact that the Philadelphia Flyers gave Kevin Hayes a seven-year, $50 million deal with an average annual value of $7.14 million, and there is no question the Bruins got a steal with Coyle.
Hayes and Coyle are both 27 years old. They are both big-bodied power forwards. Both were drafted in the first round of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Yes, Hayes has more goals so far this season for the Flyers, but Coyle has more points. In addition, Coyle has a plus-two rating on the season, even while being shuffled around the lineup because of injuries to the Bruins forward contingency. Hayes is minus-five.
He Is Not Backes
A big reason so many fans are concerned about signing any player to a long-term contract is David Backes. Boston signed him to a high-dollar, long-term deal in 2016 that is no longer ideal from the team's standpoint for a variety of reasons. However, Charlie Coyle is not David Backes.
When Backes signed with the Bruins Boston's brass was basing his worth on how he had performed with the St. Louis Blues. He has never really found a regular spot in Boston, and injuries and declining performance are a problem.
In contrast, Coyle already shows great chemistry with his Bruins teammates. He exceeded all expectations in the 2019 playoff run, and continues to shine in his first full season in Boston. Backes' mentoring and leadership skills are lauded by teammates, but Coyle is a team guy with the production to back it up.
Also, Backes was already 32 years old and entering his 11th NHL season when he first donned the Spoked-B. Coyle comes to the Bruins in what many would say is the prime of his career.
No player or contract in any sport comes with a guarantee. Long-term deals are a crap shoot. However, some players, including Charlie Coyle, are worth the risk. This team wants to win and is consistently finding ways to do just that. Coyle is all-in, so it's only right that Bruins management is too.