By Warren Kozireski —
His stock soaring after a 48 goal, 37 assist campaign with USHL Clark Cup champion Chicago in 2020-21, Matt Coronato was taken in the first round, 13th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
The 5’10”, 183 lb. center/left wing played for New Jersey as a U-14 and Long Island in 2017-18 before joining the Steel for two seasons. There he improved from 18 goals as a 17-year-old to a new franchise record 48 this past year and also increased his helpers by 15 and was named 2021 USHL Forward of the Year. He had 85 points in total and added another nine goals and 13 points in only eight playoff games.
That shot The Harvard commit up the Central Scouting rankings. Some had him as a mid-to-late first round selection, but others a second rounder.
“His best asset is probably his compete level, which amplifies all his other attributes,” one scout told The Hockey News for their Draft Preview edition.
“Coming into the season, there were a lot of things I wanted to improve on so I could take my game to the next level,” Coronato said. “My skating, for example, was a big focus for me between my first and second years.
“Obviously, my shot took a step forward, too.
“But, honestly, a big part of how it all came together was opportunity. With it being my second year with the Steel, I think I was given more responsibility, playing a lot on the powerplay and, really, in all situations. That helped a lot and having more opportunity led to even more confidence when I had the puck on my stick.
“To me, those are the two things that really helped me elevate my game. And once you get going and start feeling good about yourself, you start seeing the puck go in on a consistent basis, you’ve got to keep it rolling.”
In a matter of months it is off the college hockey and the Crimson.
“This summer in the gym, I definitely want to put on some weight, gain a few pounds and come in a little stronger ready to play with the bigger guys in college.
“I know it’s going to be a good challenge for me, but with the draft coming up and the season I just had, I’m more than ready for it.”