In quite a swift and devastating fashion, Matt Coronato’s NCAA season with the Harvard Crimson came to an end yesterday afternoon with Ohio State’s thumping of Harvard by a score of 8–1.
Although there will be some disappointment to not see one of the Flames top prospects make a deep run in the NCAA tournament, the focus has shifted to excitement for the fans and business for the Flames. With Coronato’s season ending, fans are thrilled at the thought that Coronato could ink his entry-level contract (ELC) in the immediate future and make his NHL debut, joining the team for the rest of the season.
The parallels between Coronato and Johnny Gaudreau are evident, and I think most would be over the moon to have history repeat itself.
So how close is a potential deal? When could Coronato join the team? Let’s take a look at all the news:
Update: Matt Coronato has officially signed his entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames on Sunday March 26!
Coronato signing seems imminent
While there often can be a bit of a time period between a collegiate player’s season ending and an NHL deal being inked, Coronato’s timeline could be on the faster side.
Brad Treliving traveled to the tournament to watch Coronato play and eventually start contract discussions, which means he’s probably already started those talks. As Pat Steinberg reported yesterday, the timeline and confidence of a signing is very high:
This means that Coronato could be donning #19 for the Flames very soon.
Why should Coronato sign?
There are a ton of major benefits for both team and player to get a deal done asap, the obvious being that the Flames would have easily one of their best prospects under contract with them. The Adam Fox situation still clearly haunts this team, and they couldn’t afford a repeat.
For the team though, they could insert him into the remaining games left in the season to give him some NHL experience and see what they may have. Additionally, giving him that pro experience now rather than waiting to the start of next year, could help Coronato adjust to NHL life quicker than September or October.
For Coronato, it’s pretty simple: he’s going to get paid far more, far earlier. If he signs today, and then plays in one game the rest of the season he will burn the first year of his ELC and be eligible as an restricted free agent in the summer of 2025. Should he prove himself, he’s going to get himself a lucrative deal almost two years earlier than if he stays in college.
That is a massive factor.
Of course, it may not all be as easy as it seems for Coronato. On the outside looking in it makes complete sense, but perhaps he feels like he still wants to win at the NCAA level or continue his development. He could also be looking at the current deployment of young players on the Flames and wonder “is that the best situation for me?”
At the end of the day, it’s more likely than not that he does sign but it’s still a massive decision and is a big moment for both him and the Flames.
When could Coronato join the Flames?
If all goes well, Coronato could be playing in a Flames uniform as early as March 31 against the Canucks. The Flames have a light schedule next week with games on Tuesday and Friday. Tuesday would most likely be too quick, which makes Friday a prime time for a potential NHL debut.
Plus, how poetic would it be for Coronato to play in his first game against the Canucks in Vancouver? Johnny Gaudreau 2.0 would surely write its own headlines.
Coranato signing watch is officially on!
Photo from gocrimson.com.