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Jonathan Huberdeau and Matt Coronato power play connection could be lethal

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
6 months ago
A veteran playmaker and a rookie goal-scorer. A player that distributes and a player that makes the distribution worthwhile. What’s not to like? That makes for an exciting brand of hockey, and that’s what we get to see watching the Calgary Flames this season with the relationship between Jonathan Huberdeau and Matt Coronato.
Huberdeau came into the 2023-24 regular season looking to find a way back into the positive part of the hearts and minds of the Flames fanbase after an extremely disappointing first year with the team. On the other hand, lots of hype was afforded to the young Coronato, who has showcased his scoring ability at every level he has played. After Darryl Sutter was released from his duties as head coach, it felt like the tide was turning in the favour of the young, skilled players of the future.
Of course, both of these players have a strong narrative surrounding each of them for this season, but the focal point is the connection that the two have and that we have been able to see on the power play.
Whether Huberdeau was going to be on the first power play unit was all but answered. However, whether Coronato could make a good impression and work his way into a spot on that unit was not until his impressive performance in the pre-season essentially didn’t give head coach Ryan Huska a choice. And now, we get to see these two connect on plays like this consistently on a power play that didn’t create momentum or score goals all too often.
Although Coronato wasn’t able to put the puck in the net on this particular play, it’s a good representation of the kind of connection we have been able to see thus far. Huberdeau has seemingly found Coronato on the opposite wing with ease, which has given the young winger to get shots on net from all around the net or in the faceoff circle.
No one is expecting Huberdeau to score goals, and last season, he didn’t have a player that had a shot as threatening as Coronato’s. Tyler Toffoli, now a New Jersey Devil, had a career-high in goals last season with 34, but no one else was able to get past the 25 mark, which, for a guy like Huberdeau, is a nightmare.
That’s not to say, of course, that Huberdeau’s performance would have been drastically affected by another person scoring 30-35 goals. He still wasn’t at his best, but it certainly would have helped.
The fact that the Flames didn’t have anyone reach the 30-goal mark last season other than Toffoli, or, at the very least, provide a scoring threat to free up space for the other forwards, makes this connection between Huberdeau and Coronato so important and so special to see in action. We heard about Huberdeau’s important role in making Coronato comfortable when he came up for his NHL debut, and it appears that that connection has remained stable over the off-season. The more they play together, the more they’ll score, which means that the Flames could have some very fun hockey in store for us as the season progresses.

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