2023 Calgary Flames Prospect Rankings: #2 Matthew Coronato

Coming in at the #2 spot in the 2023 TWC Calgary Flames Prospect Rankings and as the highest ranked skater is Matthew Coronato. The 2021 first-round pick made his NHL debut this past season after signing an entry-level deal with the Flames. Of every prospect currently in the Flames system, Coronato carries the highest upside among skaters.

Coronato’s development so far

Coronato was the Flames’ first-round selection at 13th overall in the 2021 draft. He was then and remains the Flames’ highest first-round pick since 2016 when they took Matthew Tkachuk sixth overall.

Going into the draft in his D+0 year, Coronato was coming off a monster 48-goal, 85-point season in the USHL in just 51 games. That season he led the USHL in goals by 16, and finished second for points which earned him the USHL’s forward of the year award. His 48 goals were the second highest total in USHL history among draft eligible players.

After being drafted by the Flames, Coronato made the jump to college hockey with Harvard University for the 2021–22 season. In his freshman year in the NCAA he would post 18 goals and 36 points in 34 games. Both totals ranked tops on his team.

That season he’d also represent Team USA at the 2022 World Juniors. Across the team’s five games he registered four goals and seven points to finish second on his team in both categories.

This most recent season in his D+2 year, Coronato once again suited up for Harvard in the NCAA. He’d see a slight bump in goal production with 20 goals in 34 games, while once again posting 36 points. Both totals ranked third on his team behind a couple 2020 draft picks. He was nominated as one of Harvard’s Hobey Baker candidates as well.

He also made his NHL debut in the final game of the Flames season after signing his entry-level deal with the Flames and sitting in the press box for two weeks. After the season had completed he went overseas to play for Team USA in the World Championships where he fit right in playing against men. He’d put up three goals and eight points in 10 games to rank fifth on the American team in scoring.

Coronato’s strengths and weaknesses

Coronato’s game is of course built on scoring goals. He’s dangerous in all areas of the offensive zone as he can battle in front to knock home rebounds or utilize his shot from far out to score. He can beat the goaltender from anywhere in the offensive zone which makes him a threat to score every time he’s on the ice. Whether it’s utilizing his shot or his quick hands in tight, Coronato is a natural goal scorer and has been at every level he’s played at.

Here’s a good example of his awareness and finishing ability as he gets to an open spot down low and opens himself up for the pass, leading to a goal.

In this example here he utilizes his shot as he circles to the middle of the ice with the puck and unloads a snap shot from the top of the circle.

In another example of his goal scoring prowess he uses his quick hands and puck skills in tight to wait out the goalie for an easy empty net goal.

On top of his goal scoring, Coronato is also a decent setup man as well. He’s great at finding his teammates for scoring chances and can distribute the puck just fine. It’s one of the reason’s he has at times shifted to the centre ice position like he did at the 2023 World Championship for Team USA.

Another defining characteristic of Coronato’s game is his worth ethic and competitiveness. Going into the draft he was mentioned as one of the drafts best players when it came to compete level and willingness to get to the dirty areas. Much like fellow Flame Andrew Mangiapane, Coronato isn’t afraid to get in on the forecheck and compete for every inch of ice despite his smaller stature.

Below are a couple examples of how he’s able to battle in front of the net and get his stick on rebounds despite his small size.

He’s also a very well-rounded player as he’s incredibly versatile. He can play and be effective at 5v5, on the penalty kill, or on the power play. There’s no situation where you wouldn’t be comfortable playing him in. There’s a reason he has lined up all over the ice, including at centre in the past.

His type of skillset means at worst he should become a dependable, hardworking middle-six winger in the NHL, even if he doesn’t live up to his full potential. However with his tools on offence there’s a chance he becomes an everyday top-six goal scoring winger in the NHL.

In terms of weaknesses Coronato really doesn’t have many. He’s the type of player that is a jack of all trades. He’s strong at every aspect of the game, but not elite. If there’s an area where he can improve it’s likely his skating. He’s not a poor skater by any means, but he could benefit from adding some more explosiveness into his game.

Coronato’s next steps

Where Coronato will play next season is still up in the air, however one thing is for sure. He’ll be playing pro hockey full-time in 2023–24. Whether that will be with the Wranglers or the Flames is still up for debate. With Craig Conroy and Ryan Huska leading the way now, young players like Coronato will be given every opportunity to make the Flames out of camp. That said, there will only be a couple open spots to start the season and with Jakob Pelletier, Walker Duehr and Adam Ruzicka locks to be in the NHL, Coronato may be best off starting the year in the AHL where he can play consistent top-six minutes.

That said even if he starts the year in the NHL, it won’t be long before Coronato is up with the Flames as his skill and goal scoring ability is undeniable and something the Flames can always use more of.

Calgary Flames 2023 Top 10 Prospects

Honourable Mentions | #10 Arseni Sergeev | #9 Lucas Ciona | #8 Parker Bell | #7 Walker Duehr | #6 Matthew Phillips | #5 Jeremie Poirier | #4 Connor Zary | #3 Jakob Pelletier | #2 Matt Coronato | #1 Dustin Wolf

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