2023-24 Calgary Flames predictions: Matthew Coronato scores 15 goals, hits 40 points, and is top 10 in Calder voting

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
7 months ago
The Calgary Flames have plenty of roster decisions to make as training camp approaches, and where to slot the young Matthew Coronato is one of the major ones. Depending on how he does in training camp, I don’t think it would surprise anyone to see him get a spot in the top six, and some, including myself, would argue that he should get a trial run there, either way, to see just where he is in his development.
But what should we expect to see from Coronato in his rookie season?

Prediction: Matthew Coronato scores 15 goals and hits 40 points in 2023-24

I have mixed feelings about this prediction, not because of anything negative to do with Coronato, but simply because it feels very safe. On one end, I think Coronato is unbelievably talented, and he has the exact kind of skillset that head coach Ryan Huska can use to his advantage in the Flames lineup. Part of me feels like this is a low prediction for him. However, the other part of me feels like this is a perfectly fine prediction, given all of the unknowns with Coronato at the NHL level.
Last season with Harvard, the 20-year-old scored 20 goals (and 36 points) in 34 NCAA games. He was one of the team’s most useful forwards and was third overall in scoring behind Sean Farrell (Montreal Canadiens) and Alex Laferriere (Los Angeles Kings). However, both of those guys were drafted a year earlier, so they have an extra year of development under their respective belts. There’s reason to believe that his transition to the NHL could go very smoothly because of his college numbers, but in his one game against NHL competition last season (yes, the sample size is as small as you can get), he didn’t look phased at all.
Coronato played excellent against the San Jose Sharks at the end of 2022-23. He played a total of 14:38 and was very effective in those minutes. He didn’t register a point, but he was a plus-2 (even though I don’t put much stock into plus-minus, and neither should you, it does represent the kind of game he had) and earned a 58.18 expected goals for percentage (xGF%). He also had a 74.42% Fenwick for percentage (FF%), which basically shows the rate of unblocked shots he was on the ice for and against.
Last season, there were five rookie skaters that hit the 40-point mark (Matty Beniers, Matias Macelli, Mason McTavish, Wyatt Johnston, and Kent Johnson), and four of them hit the 15-goal plateau as well (all except Macelli). So it’s certainly possible depending on what kind of role Coronato is told to play. There were other rookies that hit 15 goals or more but didn’t hit the 40-point mark, which leads me to believe for a player like Coronato, the goals will be easier than the points. If we were to inject Coronato from this upcoming season into last season’s lineup for 82 games, I’m not entirely sure he would hit 40 points primarily because of the down years that tons of Flames forwards had. Which means that this season needs to be a big resurgence for other individuals.
We know the kind of talent that Coronato possesses, and we know that he has the ability to reach these marks in a system that fits his play style. If Darryl Sutter was still the head coach, I’d think this prediction was more on the bold end, but considering the change of the guard and the variability on players around Coronato (and even just with how rookies perform in general), this feels like a solid middle ground prediction for the Flames’ 2021 13th overall selection.

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