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Charlie Coyle is finally in the Stanley Cup Final. Just not with the Wild

Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle (13) passes the puck from the ice past Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin (74) during the second period in game two of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 12. Winslow Townson / USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL -- For a couple of hours this season, as far as Charlie Coyle was concerned, he wasn’t on an NHL team.

He remembers getting the call on Feb. 20 from Wild general manager Paul Fenton. He remembers being told he had been traded. He remembers his mind racing after getting few details outside of that.

“It was stressful because I didn’t know where I was going,” Coyle said. “He couldn’t tell me because it hadn’t been finalized yet. He was calling me just so I didn’t fly with the team and have to immediately come back. I appreciated that. I got the call on my way the airport, and then I just turned around and headed back home.”

The rest of the night was a blur for Coyle. He flipped on NHL Network as soon as he got home and started refreshing Twitter as fast as he could. He kept seeing rumors that his hometown Boston Bruins were the team and he tried his best not to read too deep into that. He wanted to hear the official word before he got too excited.

In hindsight, though, it seems fitting that Coyle, the epicenter of trade rumors for years with the Wild, had to deal with a few more even after the trade went down.

“Yeah,” Coyle said with a laugh. “It wouldn’t have made sense any other way.”

Eventually, the trade was finalized and Coyle was officially on his way to play for the team he grew up cheering for as a kid.

“It was really bittersweet,” Coyle said. “I was about to get on a plane with my teammates and all of a sudden everything changed. That said, when I finally learned it was actually the Bruins, it was cool.”

It’s even cooler a few months later with the Bruins prepping for a trip to the Stanley Cup Final after finishing off a series sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals.

It’s fair to wonder if the Bruins would have made it to this point without Coyle. He has been a steadying force in the bottom six of the lineup, serving as the team’s third-line center and chipping in with six goals and six assists. He is tied for fifth on the team is playoff scoring, trailing only dynamic players like Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron.

Coyle has a defined role with the Bruins, something he rarely had with the Wild. He comes to the rink every day knowing he’s going to be the third-line center, flanked by Marcus Johansson and Danton Heinen.

“Obviously I took pride in being able to move around (with the Wild),” Coyle said. “It’s just nice to know where I’m going to be playing night in and night out. I’ve been able to put all my energy toward that. I’ve been playing with the same guys, too, and that has really helped.”

As excited as Coyle is to be doing this with the Bruins, at least a small part of him wishes he was doing it with the Wild. He played the better part of a decade in the Twin Cities and still laments missed opportunities.

“I would’ve loved for it to happen with the Wild when I was playing there,” Coyle said. “In the playoffs it can really come down to a bounce here or a bounce there or a hot goaltender or something like that. Maybe a break here or a break there or whatever and it could’ve been different. We had great teams. We just couldn’t break through.”

That is all in the past as far as Coyle is concerned. While he still keeps in touch with some of his former teammates, he is putting his energy into his Bruins teammates.

“It’s been really cool,” Coyle said. “If someone were to make up the best-case scenario for me personally, this would be right up there.”

Still, Coyle admitted it hasn’t really set in that next week he will be playing in the Stanley Cup Final.

“It doesn’t feel real,” Coyle said. “I was going through the handshake line the other night and all of a sudden a guy is handing me (an Eastern Conference champion) hat. I literally forgot they did that. That was a pretty cool surprise. I forgot all about it. You see guys getting teary-eyed as we’re celebrating and realize how much this stuff means. I’m grateful I get to be a part of it.”