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2 Calgary Flames prospects featured on The Athletic’s Calder Trophy candidates list

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
7 months ago
The 2023-24 season will see the National Hockey League debuts of quite a few talented young players, including but not limited to 2023 first-overall pick Connor Bedard. But Bedard is part of what’s expected to be a pretty stacked rookie class.
Over at The Athletic, Scott Wheeler and Harman Dayal put together a really detailed rundown of the top 2023-24 Calder Trophy candidates. Including in that listing were a pair of Calgary Flames prospects: Dustin Wolf and Matt Coronato.
The 22-year-old Wolf is ranked 10th on their list. It’s a ranking probably based on Wolf’s game-breaking potential.
Since being selected in the seventh round of the 2019 NHL Draft, Wolf has been named his league’s goalie of the year four times in four seasons – twice in the WHL (2019-20, 2020-21) and twice in the AHL (2021-22, 2022-23) – and was named the AHL’s most valuable player in 2022-23 as well. In short: he’s a fantastic goaltending prospect. If he gets NHL playing time, he could be a difference-maker.
There’s two reasons why he might not be a strong Calder candidate, though. First, no goaltender has won the Calder since Steve Mason won it back in 2008-09. Second, Wolf is slotted behind both Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar right now. Even if a trade materializes that opens an NHL roster spot for Wolf – it would probably be a Vladar trade since Markstrom has a no-move clause in his contract – it’s unclear if Wolf would get enough playing time to become a strong Calder candidate. (Stuart Skinner, who finished second in Calder voting last season, made 48 starts.)
The 20-year-old Coronato is ranked 18th on their list.
Unlike Wolf, it’s pretty easy to imagine Coronato playing a lot and getting a sufficiently large role to generate some showy offensive numbers. With the departure of right-shot winger Tyler Toffoli, it’s easy to project Coronato getting power play time. It’s easy to imagine Coronato getting a good amount of five-on-five time in the top nine, and he’ll likely be playing with one of Elias Lindholm, Nazem Kadri or Mikael Backlund regularly. With goals being so important to winning hockey games, and Coronato’s well-earned reputation as a goal-scorer in the USHL and NCAA, he’ll probably get a good chance to do the same thing in the NHL.
Jakob Pelletier was also mentioned as a honourable mention on The Athletic’s list. Check out the full list and the detailed analysis over at their site!
Five Flames players have won the Calder Trophy in the award’s history: Eric Vail (in 1974-75), Willi Plett (in 1976-77), Gary Suter (in 1985-86), Joe Nieuwendyk (in 1987-88) and Sergei Makarov (in 1989-90).

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