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Wild prospect Coyle leaves college, joins QMJHL

by Mike G. Morreale
Charlie Coyle, one of eight returning players invited to USA Hockey's selection camp for the 2012 World Junior Championship, is leaving Boston University and joining the defending Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Coyle's decision was made official Friday afternoon.

"Charlie is a world-class player for his age group," said Mike Kelly, associate coach and director of hockey operations for the Sea Dogs. "We're looking forward to getting to know him, and we think he will fit in well on our team."

Coyle will join the Sea Dogs at the conclusion of the WJC tournament, which runs Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Calgary.

Coyle was taken by the San Jose Sharks in the first round (No. 28) in the 2010 NHL Draft, and his rights were traded to the Minnesota Wild during the first night of the 2011 draft as part of a package for defenseman Brent Burns. The Hockey’s Future website has Coyle ranked as Minnesota’s No. 2 prospect, and at No. 25 on its overall list.

He is scheduled to join 28 other players in Camrose, Alta., on Saturday as U.S. National Junior Team coach Dean Blais and his staff begin the process of paring down their roster to 22 players.

Coyle, a 19-year-old sophomore at BU, was a member of last year's bronze medal-winning U.S. National Team at the 2011 WJC in Buffalo, N.Y. He was selected as one of Team USA's top three players for his ability on offense and gritty style of play in the corners. He tied for the team lead with four assists and six points in six games.

An East Weymouth, Mass., native, Coyle was the Hockey East Rookie of the Year last season after finishing with seven goals and 26 points in 37 games for the Terriers and legendary coach Jack Parker. He had three goals and 14 points in 16 games this season, along with 20 penalty minutes and a plus-7 rating.

The Sea Dogs won the Memorial Cup last season and return much of that roster intact, including Jonathan Huberdeau -- the No. 3 pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. Saint John is 26-10-0-1 so far this season and in first place in the Maritimes Division of the QMJHL. Coyle and Huberdeau are two of four first-round NHL draft picks on the Sea Dogs roster. Forward Zack Phillips and defenseman Nathan Beaulieu were also chosen in the opening round last June.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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