Matt Coronato was drafted 13th overall by the Calgary Flames a couple of years ago in the 2021 NHL Draft. Ever since then, Coronato has blossomed into a strong, well-rounded prospect, and potentially the Flames’ best. He has acquired a few impressive feats in his career so far such as a Hobey Baker nomination and being among the best USA players at the World Juniors. You typically hear about his goal-scoring ability, but his compete level and playmaking might be just as good and there’s no skill he really struggles with.
Coronato and Harvard University are competing in the 2023 NCAA men’s Frozen Four and whenever their tournament ends, we could see him sign his entry-level contract with the Flames.
Coronato signing soon?
Coronato will very likely be signing his entry-level contract in the matter of days. Harvard could be eliminated from the frozen four tournament as early as this Friday and as late as April 8. Flames general manager Brad Treliving is flying out to Connecticut to watch Coronato and Harvard play and there’s a higher chance he comes back with Coronato signed.
Signing him now instead of the summer will burn a year off his entry-level deal and there’s likely to be some debate around this. In my opinion, it would be in both Coronato and the Flames’ best interest to sign as soon as possible. Coronato will get to play some hockey at a professional level before his first full pro season and the Flames get the assurance that they aren’t losing their top prospect. The only situation that I wouldn’t sign Coronato before the summer, is if Harvard goes all the way and the Flames are out of the playoffs come April 8 as they would be burning a year off his entry-level contract for two meaningless regular season games.
What could Coronato bring?
If Coronato signs this weekend, the hope would be that he will be able to get into some NHL games. In a perfect world, he becomes an immediate star, but in our world, he won’t magically save this depressing season. However, just like Jakob Pelletier’s rise, Coronato could bring entertainment and hope to the team.
If the Flames somehow sneak into the playoffs, Coronato could end up having the same effect and impact Cole Caufield and Cale Makar had for their respective teams when signing straight out of the NCAA and playing in the playoffs. Finally, if the Flames miss the playoffs, Coronato sadly can’t play in the AHL this season and wouldn’t be able to join the Wranglers playoff run.
The future looks bright
If nothing changes, Matt Coronato should sign with the Flames as soon as his season is over. If he plays some games for the Flames, the expectation shouldn’t be that he comes in and makes a huge, immediate impact saving the season, but to hopefully bring a reason to watch the remaining games and bring some much needed hope for the future in a sad Flames season.
Photo from gocrimson.com.