3 Calgary Flames prospects (probably) going pro in 2023-24

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
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One of the more exciting things about tracking a franchise’s drafting and development system is seeing drafted prospects graduate from major junior or college, sign entry-level deals, and join the Calgary Flames’ pro system. For the upcoming 2023-24 season, there are a trio of players that are expected to play the season in the North American pro system. But there could be complexities.
Here’s a snapshot of those three players.

Matt Coronato

The Flames’ first-round selection in 2021, Coronato signed his entry-level deal in the spring following his sophomore season at Harvard University. Because he was a college player who signed a pro deal, he no longer has NCAA eligibility and so he’s definitely going to be a full-time pro this season. He could play in the American Hockey League with the Calgary Wranglers or the NHL with the Flames, and it seems likely given his draft pedigree and how well he played last season (both in college and at the World Championships) that’ll be given every chance to make the NHL roster.
We’ve discussed Coronato a ton in this space. He’s a smart, versatile, goal-scoring winger (who can play centre).

William Stromgren

The Flames’ second-round pick in 2021, Stromgren signed in the spring following the end of his Swedish season. He joined the Wranglers briefly at the end of the season on a try-out deal, but his ELC kicks in this coming season. He’s not expected to challenge for an NHL spot right away, as the thought is he’ll need some time to adapt to the North American game. His deal reportedly contains a European assignment clause, meaning that the Flames (and Stromgren) have the option to assign him to a European team for this coming season. Training camp will probably be spent figuring out what his role will be for the Wranglers, and then assessing if that role would give him enough ice time to keep developing as a pro player. If not, he could end up back in Sweden for the season. He’s a toolsy two-way winger, but sometimes those players take time to adapt to new roles or leagues.

Lucas Ciona

The Flames’ sixth-round pick in 2020, Ciona is a big-bodied winger who spent the past four seasons with the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds. He was an alternate captain on their run to the WHL Final series in 2022 and captained them to a championship and a Memorial Cup appearance this past spring. He’s 20 and eligible to return to the WHL as an overager, but he’s done basically everything that he can do at the WHL level. Lauded for his maturity, leadership and ability to use his physical tools intelligently, Ciona probably projects as a physical complimentary player at the pro level – not unlike somebody like a Micheal Ferland or Walker Duehr – but it might take him a bit of time to adapt to the pace of the AHL game.
Which first-year pro are you most excited to track in the upcoming season? Do you think there’s an outside chance that Stromgren or Ciona could make an NHL appearance in the next few seasons? Let us know in the comments!

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