Photo Credit: Chicago Steel
It’s hard to imagine any team in the NHL who couldn’t use a player who can rack up points like it’s nothing, rarely takes a shift off, and has a compete level to rival any prospect eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft. That’s exactly what you’ll be getting out of Chicago Steel forward Matthew Coronato. Coronato was born in New York, New York, but grew up in Long Island. Currently, he’s crafting his talents for the Chicago Steel in the USHL.
Coronato played his youth hockey all around the eastern seaboard, but perhaps most prominently in the AYHL for New Jersey & Long Island, as well as USHS Prep League for Salisbury Prep School. Seemingly anywhere Coronato has laced up the skates, the points have certainly followed. He’s only had one season since 2016/17 below a point-per-game rate, that being 2019-20, his first season for the Steel.
So far this season, Coronato has exploded in production for the Steel, registering a mind blowing 37 goals and 29 assists for 66 points in 39 games. He’s swapped positions with line-mate and 2021 NHL Draft prospect Mackie Samoskevich, as both players are capable of suiting up either at center, or out on the wing. Those two, alongside usual line-mates Erik Middendorf or Sean Farrell, have formed lines capable of scoring at will, against some very talented USHL defenders. Coronato is taking advantage of a great situation and is climbing up many scouting services Draft Boards with his incredible play thus far in 2020/21.
For the 2021-22 season, Coronato is committed to the University of Harvard, where he’ll play under Head Coach Ted Donato. Coronato will be surrounded with talent, as he’ll join his Steel teammates Sean Farrell (Montreal Canadiens prospect) and Ian Moore (Anaheim Ducks prospect) in Cambridge, alongside Crimson players John Farinacci (Arizona Coyotes prospect), Henry Thrun (Anaheim Ducks prospect) and Nick Abruzzese (Toronto Maple Leafs prospect). Once Coronato settles in, look for him to make an impressive mark in ECAC play.
D.O.B – November 14, 2002
Nationality – USA
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height – 5’10”
Weight – 183 lbs.
Position – Center/Left Wing
Handedness – Right
Coronato’s Style Of Play
Matthew Coronato attacks the game in such a way that will impress just about every scout that watches him. He’s capable of playing in all areas of the ice, and can be trusted at 5v5, 5v4 and on the penalty kill. Coronato is definitely unafraid to go into the dirty areas of the ice, and more often than not, comes out of the scrum with possession of the puck. He is awesome in transition, and can move the puck freely and quickly through the neutral zone with ease. Also, he can pinpoint the perfect time for a breakout pass, and deliver it on the tape with little to no difficulty. When lined up as a center, Coronato is effective in the faceoff circle, as he’s won 53% of his faceoffs through March 15th, 2021.
Consistency is one aspect of Coronato’s game that is most notable, as he carried a 19 game point streak to open the 2020/21 season. Dating back to last year, his point streak totaled 28 games, which broke a previous USHL record. Coronato has also been held pointless in only five games this season, so he can be counted upon to bring the offense every night. It’s hard to imagine his consistency and offensive output wouldn’t light up the eyes of nearly every NHL scout.
Coronato’s skating may be the only attribute that isn’t exactly on par with the rest of his game. That’s not to say he isn’t a talented skater, but it is an area that he could benefit greatly from improving on, just a touch. Coronato is good at generating speed when trying to beat a defender out wide on the rush, and has little difficulty hustling back into the play on defense.
To add, Coronato also has adequate edgework, and is capable of changing direction to create space in all three zones. To some scouts, that may be important, as his skating has significantly improved since last season. However, he sort of lacks a general sense of speed to his overall game. Coronato could really benefit from working on his explosiveness out of the gate, as it will help him generate more space and scoring chances at the next level.
Lastly, Coronato could also touch on the overall quickness in his game, as it sometimes takes him a little time to hit full speed in transition. Working on these minor flaws in his game will certainly help him become an elite skater at the next level, and will certainly impress teams looking to select him at the Draft this summer.
When you watch the game tape of Matthew Coronato, it’s easy to notice how he reaches the point totals he’s amassed in the past few seasons. He has zero issue going into the slot and batting home a loose puck, but he’s just as dangerous with the puck on his stick at the top of the circle. He can beat a goaltender from pretty much anywhere in the offensive zone, and make it look easy more often than not. As good of a natural scorer Coronato is, he’s equally as good of a set-up man. He is a talented passer of the puck, and can seek out a teammate rushing into the offensive zone with a beautiful pass. Coronato is also an above average powerplay weapon, as he can usually be found patrolling both sections of the slot. He’s scored eight of his ten powerplay goals from this area, which goes to show how effective he is with the man advantage.
It’s sort of crazy to think about, but Coronato could easily have an extra 10-15 points this season alone, if it weren’t for a few missed shots and some more “puck luck”. In watching game film from this season, it was remarkable to notice how many times he’s had shots that just missed the net. Also, how many times he’s set up teammates with a pass, and they’ve shot wide/had the puck knocked off their stick.
Coronato doesn’t necessarily possess a truly lethal shot, he still gets the job done when it counts, which scouts may see as a benefit rather than a setback. That being said, Coronato does still have a decent wrister, and can beat even the better goalies in the USHL on a regular basis.
While Coronato doesn’t particularly stand out in any singular aspect of his game, he is incredibly solid at producing offense, which is arguably just as, if not more important. There’s always room to develop certain aspects of his game at the next level, but it’s hard to teach that natural instinct of producing points. Coronato will no doubt impress a ton of scouts when it comes to his “won’t-quit” attitude, and his instinctive talent to score.
Perhaps an under-utilized defensive zone player, Coronato is more than capable of being a 200ft player. When lined up as a center, he is quite talented at defensive zone faceoffs, boasting a 59.4% win rate as of March 15th, 2021. Not only can he win important defensive zone faceoffs, Coronato is also quite good at helping out defenders with forechecks, and making a pass to help his team breakout of the defensive zone.
Coronato is also an average penalty killer. He averages approximately 1:40 min of penalty kill time per game, and excels at pressuring the opposing defensemen with his active stick. He can also maintain possession of the puck in the offensive zone while on the penalty kill, a trait that is sure to impress a lot of scouts. On the penalty kill, Coronato can usually be found in the high slot, covering off one of the points in the box formation. This placement allows him to be aggressive in covering off the slot forward as well one of the defenseman, and gives Coronato a chance to create a shorthanded rush after forcing a mistake.
Coronato is a very talented prospect who is a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none, for lack of a better term. His compete level is right up there with the top prospects for 2021, and he is no doubt one of the best natural scorers in the entire draft. However, with pretty much every prospect, there are a couple of spots in his game that could use some fine tuning. On offense, Coronato could look to improve his shot accuracy, as well as his shot decision making. In watching his game film, there were a few times where he could have scored if he places the puck in a more accurate location. He seems to be on the right track, as his film shows improvement from previous seasons. As mentioned above, Coronato may look to improve his explosiveness, and the overall quickness in his game. His skating has definitely shown improvement over last year’s footage, as many scouts have seen.
Overall, Matthew Coronato is arguably the most offensively productive forward in the 2021 Draft Class. His natural ability to score, or find a teammate who scores is simply remarkable. While he won’t stand out in any specific way, he oozes consistency in every aspect of his offensive game. His ability to produce should only become better at the next level, as he’ll be lined up with some impressive talent at Harvard in the ECAC this coming fall.
If Coronato can make the necessary tweaks to his game as previously mentioned, look for him to be a solid top 9 forward who can add quite a bit of offensive production for whichever team selects him in the Draft. Based off of his production, you can expect he’ll be taken anywhere from 25th, a late first rounder, to 40th, an early/mid second rounder.
Jake Guentzel – C/LW – Pittsburgh Penguins
In watching film of Matthew Coronato, he reminded me of another versatile forward who has quite the knack for offensive production. That forward is Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins. In watching film of Coronato, it struck me how many similarities lie between both players. Both players took the Prep School-USHS Prep School-USHL-NCAA route of competition, and both players are versatile when it comes to where they line up position wise.
Not only are both players relatively the same size, but Coronato (5’10” and 183 lbs) and Guentzel (5’11” and 181 lbs) are similar in terms of offensive production. In Guentzel’s only season in the USHL for Sioux City, he totaled 29 goals and 44 assists for 73 points in 60 games. Coronato seems to be on a similar path as far as point totals go, however he tends to score more than he does assist his teammates.
In conclusion, if the team that selects Matthew Coronato can help develop him, and get him close to the production that Guentzel provides for the Penguins, I’m sure they would be thrilled with spending a potential first or second round selection on Matthew Coronato.
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Paul Zuk. If you would like to follow Paul on Twitter, his handle is @paulzuk_81.
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