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First They Came Home, Now They'll Stay: Coyle and Wagner Re-Up With B's

Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner "ingrained in the community" and in the locker room

by Laney Byler @NHLBruins / - A little less than a year ago, Charlie Coyle found himself sitting at a dinner table in Las Vegas surrounded by a team he didn't know.

And yet, he couldn't help but text his friends and family about his excitement.

Looking back, that's one of the moments Coyle points to where he felt like he truly belonged with the Boston Bruins, despite the uncertainty of being with a new team. Even though a trade deal whisked him away from a six-year career with the Minnesota Wild, he felt sure he could fit in with this team he barely knew.

"It was a little of everything, to be honest," Coyle said. "Just how everyone fit in and there were no cliques, just everyone having a good time and I could tell. I remember texting buddies and family and saying, 'You can tell. This is the real deal here.' And you see the run we had last year, and it just all came together. I felt lucky and fortunate to be there, so I feel even more to be here for the next six years."

Video: Coyle recalls first moments as a Bruin, talks extensi

As of Wednesday afternoon, Coyle, along with teammate Chris Wagner, officially signed a multi-year contract extension to remain in Boston with the Bruins. Coyle's six-year contract with an annual NHL cap hit of $5.25 million is slated through the 2025-26 season. Wagner re-signed for three years with an annual NHL cap hit of $1.35 million.

For Boston General Manager Don Sweeney, the contract extensions stem not only from Coyle and Wagner's abilities to provide depth to Boston's lineup, but as well as their commitment to Boston's community and reputation as teammates.

"I think we are a product of the depth of our club, and Charlie and Chris, we're really excited to have them for the foreseeable future," said Sweeney. "I think Charlie came in and fit in very nicely with our club last year, and now you're seeing versatility in him as a player, being able to go up the lineup, slide over and support a guy like Jack [Studnicka] last night in his first game. And Chris brings elements that we really respect. Obviously, we play our bottom part of our lineup in trusted fashion, and he's a big part of the success of that line.

"And they're so ingrained in the community of Boston as well. I mean, they're hometown guys, but they clearly wanted to be here. They understand the pressure of playing associated with the Bruins. They're really good teammates, so for us, it was a really good fit. We're really excited to have them."

Video: Sweeney Inks Wagner and Coyle Contract Extensions

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy echoed those statements, emphasizing his players' dedication to the team.

"Good news for us," said Cassidy. "Both excellent Bruins, good teammates, hard-working guys, put the crest first. Happy to have them both on board. I know we've got a few more to go - Donny does - but I'm sure they're excited to be here, so it's good news for the club."

The two forwards grew up locally, even playing a season of hockey together with the South Shore Kings of the EJHL from 2009-10. From there, the two split ways, with Coyle heading through the ranks before ending up in Minnesota. Wagner spent time with multiple organizations before ending up with the Bruins in 2018.

 Since coming back to Boston, both Coyle and Wagner have been staples in the Bruins lineup. Last year, after skating in 76 games with 12 goals and seven assists, Wagner was awarded NESN's "7th Player" award for exceeding expectations of Bruins fans in a season where he ranked 11th in the NHL in hits with 247.

Coyle made his debut with the team following the 2018-19 deadline and quickly became one of the Bruins' leading playoff scorers with nine goals and seven assists in 24 games. 

There was little time to celebrate the extensions, as news of the contracts came while on the road. Wagner joked that he'd probably have to celebrate with his family at Thanksgiving dinner the next day, as the Bruins are playing a set of back-to-back games with Montreal and Ottawa.

But for both Coyle and Wagner, that's part of why playing with their hometown team is so special - not only do they get to be a part of the team they grew up watching, but they get to call it home, too.

"From the coaches, management, guys in the room, it's a big part of it," said Wagner. "Just the winning culture, it's a big reason why I wanted to stay. Then playing at home… you can't really beat it."

Video: Walpole native Wagner talks extension 

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