What’s next for Matthew Coronato?

Photo credit:Gil Talbot/Harvard Crimson
Robert Munnich
1 year ago
Rejoice, Flames fans! Matthew Coronato has signed his three-year entry-level contract with your Calgary Flames. A refreshing piece of news for a fan base that has had to endure an emotionally draining season. Now that he is signed, what should we expect to see from Coronato this season? Let’s dive deeper into that question.

What type of player is he?

Coronato is a talented, right shot winger who has top six potential. Coronato is a solid all around player, but he is specifically known for two aspects of his game. First is his goal scoring ability. In his final year with the Chicago Steel, Coronato scored 48 goals in only 51 games setting a Steel franchise record. He also named the 2021 USHL forward of the year. He carried that production on to Harvard where he scored 38 goals in 68 games, which is fantastic production from a player in their freshman and sophomore seasons. Scoring at the collegiate level is not easy for first and second year players, but that didn’t seem to be the case for the talented winger.
Coronato is also known for his work ethic. Coaches, scouts, and players will all tell you that Coronato is the type of player who never takes a night off. At the end of each game, you will not be questioning the effort level of this player. Which is similar to what we’ve seen so far this season from someone like Jakob Pelletier.
If I had to compare him to a current NHL player, it would be Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks. There are a lot of similarities between these two players.
  • Both right shooting wingers.
  • Played two years of NCAA hockey with similar production.
  • They were elite goal scorers at the junior and NCAA levels.
  • They are known for their shot and offensive instincts.
  • They’re not the best skaters. That is the something Coronato needs to work on.

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When will he play?

This is the million-dollar question surrounding Coronato. Calgary is in the middle of a playoff race with the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators. Because of that, you would think that Darryl Sutter will want to ice a veteran lineup.
One thing to consider is that Sutter has set a precedent on how he wants to handle young skilled wingers. It’s to sit them in the press box for a few games to get them used to the NHL. And then they’ll find there way into the lineup within 3-7 games.
The two most likely outcomes when it comes to when we’ll see Coronato are:
1. He’ll be a healthy scratch until the Flames are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
2. He’ll be a healthy scratch for the rest of the season and not get into a game as the Flames peruse a playoff spot.
We saw how hesitant Sutter was playing Jakob Pelletier who had 110 games of AHL experience under his belt. Coronato has never played a game of hockey at the professional level. Will Sutter feel comfortable putting an inexperienced Coronato in the lineup in meaningful games at the end of the season?
Sutter had a hard time playing young players at the end of the 2021 bubble season when the Flames were playing in meaningless games against the Canucks. He declined to play the likes of Matthew Phillips and Juuso Valimaki until the very last game of the season. Because of Sutter’s track record, I doubt we’ll see much of Coronato this season.

Where does he fit in the lineup?

I know how much fun it would be to have Coronato play on the right side on a line with the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau or Elias Lindholm. But for this season, I do not think that will happen. If Coronato does make it into the lineup, it will most likely be in the bottom six. Once again, all we have to do it look at the usage of Pelletier when he was first inserted into the Flames lineup. He was put on a fourth line with Trevor Lewis and Milan Lucic. I see a similar thing happening with Coronato.
And putting him in the bottom six is the right thing to do. Coronato should be eased into the NHL which would allow expectations to be tempered. Fans are going to be hyped up and excited to see him play, which they should be. Coronato is the best non goalie prospect in the Flames organization since Matthew Tkachuk. Keeping expectations around him low in the short term is going to be important. The last thing the Flames and Sutter are going to want is another Sven Baertschi 2012 situation happening.
Coronato is a great addition to the Flames roster both now and into the future. But let’s make sure expectations for Coronato are not too high as he enters the NHL at the end of a tumultuous season for the Flames. Don’t expect to see much of him in the final eight games. But hopefully he can get into a game or two so fans can see the newest Flame in action.
What are you expecting from Matthew Coronato over the next couple weeks? Let us know in the comments section!

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