Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Coronato needs consistent playing time when he is up with the Flames next
1 month ago
A young player’s development is always something that fans of their respective teams will keep a close eye on. For the Flames, there have been multiple names in that pool over the last season or two, some of which have made their presence felt at the NHL level this season, like Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil. Dustin Wolf also has gotten his chance to shine while Dan Vladar is up and down performance-wise, and Jacob Markstrom was out for a couple of weeks due to a finger injury.
However, the one player who came into the regular season with high hopes and didn’t really do much in his first stint at the highest level is Matt Coronato.
After a fantastic preseason, which saw Coronato score at over a point per game with some of the best analytics among players that took the ice for the preseason. However, his start in the NHL didn’t go as planned, with his defensive numbers being slightly below average, but his offensive numbers being in a giant black hole. The kid just could not score.
He was inevitably sent down to the American Hockey League, where he lit things up and still continues to light up the scoresheet. He currently sits with 8 goals and 13 assists for 21 points in 19 games with the Calgary Wranglers and has been one of the team’s best scorers (unsurprisingly) since moving down a level. In fact, he’s second in scoring behind only Ben Jones, with eight fewer games played.
Coronato was back up at the NHL level on an emergency loan per Cap Friendly, and in his one and only game back against the New Jersey Devils, he looked much more confident. However, he wasn’t able to score, even with this fantastic shot on the rush that hit the crossbar, which clearly frustrated him.
And here is some solid play in the neutral zone, followed up by a good pass to Zary and a good scoring chance at the front of the net:
Coronato was also up with the Flames for their eventual 6-5 loss against the Colorado Avalanche, but he was scratched, which was a bit confusing. He was only up for a specific period of time due to the flu virus being rampant throughout the team, which meant that once everyone was healthy again, he lost his spot. However, after his strong play against New Jersey led some to believe he might get another chance while he was still with the team, and that was not the case.
According to the numbers, Coronato still probably hasn’t hit the level that head coach Ryan Huska and the coaching staff want, but clearly, taking a trip down to the AHL has done a decent amount for his confidence. Scoring points (even if it comes in the form of assists instead of a high number of goals) and taking advantage of the time that he gets at the NHL level is the next step. Of course, he also needs to get *consistent* playing time, which hasn’t happened thus far in his NHL career. The coaching staff giving him consistent linemates and consistent minutes at both even strength and the man advantage will be crucial to finding success.
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