The Calgary Flames drafted Matt Coronato with their first round selection in the 2021 NHL draft. Coronato was one of the fastest risers in the draft and while he was ranked 24th on TWC’s consolidated rankings, many scouts projected him to go much, much higher in the draft due to his incredible season with the USHL’s Chicago Steel.
We profiled Coronato in the weeks leading up to the draft and even had him as our selection for the Flames in our mock draft. He fills a need in the Flames’ depth chart both positionally on right wing and with his play style as a goal scorer.
How good is Matthew Coronato?
The USHL is a very, very good developmental league. On top of that, the Chicago Steel is one of, if not the best team in the USHL for developing star NHL players. The USHL has produced a long, long list of stars including Auston Matthews, Jack Hughes, Jack Eichel, Cole Caufield, Dylan Larkin, Brock Boeser, Jake Guentzel, Kyle Connor, and Clayton Keller. Both Matthew Tkachuk and Brady Tkachuk also played in the USHL.
Some of hockey’s best and most promising young players also came from the USHL. The list includes Trevor Zegras, Alex Turcotte, Oliver Wahlstrom, Bobby Brink, Kieffer Bellows, Matthew Boldy, and Joel Farabee.
It’s a very impressive list with elite company for Coronato.
This is Coronato’s stat line from last season. He was just shy of a goal per game with 48 in 51.
This was an incredible season for Coronato. Looking back at the past 10 seasons, Coronato is one of the best to play in the USHL, period. In terms of points, Coronato has the fourth best D+0 year in the USHL. He’s behind only Turcotte, Jack Hughes, and Wahlstrom.
However, Matthews, Hughes, and Eichel all had better D-1 seasons in the USHL than Coronato’s D+0 season, but every single one of them were first overall picks, so that’s not a knock on Coronato at all. Coronato is ahead of notable players Keller, Brink, Sonny Milano, Farabee, Jack Roslovic, Cole Sillinger, Zegras, Caufield, Connor, Bellows, and many more.
Looking at goals, Coronato is in the penthouse with one roommate. Only Caufield has scored at a higher rate than Coronato in his draft year. Even adding in D+1 D+2 and D+3 seasons, nobody jumps ahead of him. Pretty good company.
Coronato’s highlight reel
The tape on Coronato just shows goal after goal after goal. He scores in so many different ways and works so hard to fill the net. This combination of qualities makes him a very good bet to excel at higher levels which is no doubt why the Flames were thrilled with their selection in the first round on Friday night. There’s a reason his nickname is “The Bison.”
In the clip below, watch Coronato sneak right in front of the net to accept a pass and bury the puck in tight.
This next one shows Coronato buzzing in the offensive zone, protecting the puck well, and making plays. His toolkit includes much more than his elite shot. He is an effective offensive player in many different ways.
The tweet explains what makes this play impressive, but it’s worth noting that Coronato doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game. He’ll take a hit to make a play and doesn’t wait to pop back up to join in on the offense.
In this game against the NTDP, Coronato shows off excellent positioning and waits until the play develops. Around the 0:45 mark, watch him beat a defender clean up the right wing boards and feather a cross-ice pass to his teammate streaking towards the net.
I really like this one. He grabs the puck at his own blueline and just decides that he’s going to own the play. Incredible.
And this last one is important because it shows that he’s not just a finesse player. He drives the net hard here and buries a rebound in tight to finish the play.
Coronato is going to be one of the most interesting and electrifying Flames prospects in a long time. He is heading to Harvard University to play for the Crimson in the NCAA next season, and he’ll be appointment viewing for anyone who follows college hockey.
Watch for Coronato to light up the NCAA and hopefully sign with the Flames in the next year or two.