Matt Coronato made the most of his time split between the NHL and AHL in 2023-24

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Paige Siewert
13 days ago
Matt Coronato is a player many following the Calgary Flames were excited to see in the 2023-24 season. His draft and signing were praised and the opportunity to watch him play in Calgary gave fans a promising glimpse into the future. Coronato did not bloom into a full-time NHL player in his first season but his split time between leagues did pay its dividends in his development.

The past

Matt Coronato was a product of the NCAA, playing two years with Harvard University between 2021-2023. In the two seasons he played with the esteemed university, he registered over a point per game with 36 points in 34 games. His total production was the same in both seasons. In his freshman year, he put up 18 goals and 18 assists and in his sophomore year, he put up 20 goals and 16 assists.
In the 2021 NHL draft, Matt Coronato was selected 13th overall by the Calgary Flames. Once his second season finished up with the Ivy League school, Coronato signed his entry-level contract and made his NHL debut in one game with the Flames in the 2022-23 season against the San Jose Sharks.

The present 

Coronato cracked the opening night roster after training camp in the Fall of 2023 and started the year as a Flame. Coronato played in 10 NHL games in the first month of the season before being sent down to the Calgary Wranglers for a confidence boost and a bit of development. He went back and forth in the months following but this wasn’t something that bothered him too much. He said:
“Both teams had such great guys that walking in and out of locker rooms really wasn’t too hard. I think you gotta go into every game with the same mindset. Regardless if it’s the Wranglers or the Flames. Go out and do whatever I can to help the team win is my mentality.”

NHL performance 

In his first 10 games with the Flames, Coronato’s production was quieter than expected. He had only put up two points consisting of a goal and an assist by the time November rolled around. His first NHL goal was in the second game of the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After being sent down to the AHL affiliate, Coronato did get a game in against the New Jersey Devils but did not register any points. He returned to the Wranglers and did not get another shot with the big club until late January. 
Matt Coronato played in four games between January 20-27th and registered one assist during this time. He was back in the AHL for the All-Star break and spent the month of February with the Wranglers. This yo-yo of call-ups did teach Coronato about his professional career and the mental game attached to it. He said:
“I think mentally I’ve learned a lot about like hey you had a bad game, you have another game tomorrow. There’s so many games, bounce back and you have so much opportunity when you play that many games. You gotta flush things out when bad games are going to come up.”
His longest stretch of games with the Flames was in the last couple of months of the season. From early March to late April, Coronato was an every day forward and played in 19 games over the two months. He had two goals and four assists throughout this time. Matt Coronato’s NHL production for the year finished up at three goals and six assists in 34 games with the Flames. 
He had a few different linemates over the course of his NHL time but was consistently a third or fourth-line winger. In the last game of the season, he skated on a line centered by Kevin Rooney and Adam Klapka on the other wing. He also had some time with Mikael Backlund,  Yegor Sharangovich, Connor Zary, Walker Duehr, Blake Coleman, and A.J. Greer. 

AHL performance

At the AHL level, Matt Coronato was a top-line winger and a league superstar. Even with spurts of time with the Wranglers, his impact was so immediate that he was a consistent top scorer for the team for the majority of the season. 
Coronato exceeded a point per game average as a rookie and was recognized as one of the team’s All-Stars and attended the festivities with Dustin Wolf and head coach Trent Cull in February. In the 41 games he played in the AHL this year, he finished with 15 goals and 27 assists for a total of 42 points. 
Coronato was making it look easy in the American League right off the bat. He had two three point games in his first six competitions with a two goal, one assist performance against the San Diego Gulls in November and another one goal and two assist performance against the Bakersfield Condors two games later.
His season-best performance was on Dec. 29 against the Abbotsford Canucks when he had a four point game consisting of two goals and two assists. One marker of which was this beautiful fake out into a wraparound on Arturs Silovs. 
After the NHL season ended, Coronato joined the Wranglers for the last game of the AHL regular season against the Abbotsford Canucks. He then stuck around for the two rounds of playoffs for the AHL affiliate. 
In post-season play, Coronato was second in the team scoring just under Adam Klapka with six points. Even with some of the most points in the playoffs, Coronato still felt there was more he could’ve done. He said:
“I think it was a good year, but I think you can always want more. Especially when you look at the playoffs. Definitely would’ve wanted more from myself. Would’ve liked to see the group go a little farther, but I think when you look at it as a whole it was a good year. There’s things I can improve on and I’m excited to do so.”
In round one against the Tucson Roadrunners, Coronato had a goal and an assist in two games. In round two against the Coachella Valley Firebirds, he had four assists in four games and only didn’t register a point in the last game of the post-season. Coronato played on a line with Cole Schwindt and Jakob Pelletier to wrap up playoffs.

The future 

Matt Coronato made the most of his first professional season. Making the Flames opening night roster in his first year was a massive accomplishment and while he didn’t play a full season with the parent club, splitting his time between the AHL and NHL is a lot more than most professional hockey players can say they did in their first year. 
He is making the necessary preparations this summer and knows the areas of his game that need the most work. He is excited to be a part of the Flames organization and very much appreciates the fanbase. When he was told this fanbase is rooting for him he said:
“It makes me excited. I think it’s important at times to block out noise and play the game because that’s what it’s about but the fans in Calgary are great. They love hockey, they know hockey so it’s an exciting organization to play for.”
While he is excited to play in the Flames organization, the organization is excited to watch Matt Coronato emerge to his full potential. Coronato still has another full season remaining in his entry-level contract and is going into the off-season with the goal of being an everyday NHLer come the 2024-25 season.

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