Matt Coronato the idea of turning pro, but the Calgary Flames forward decided another season playing at Harvard University was ultimately the best long-term decision.
But the future 19-year-old sophomore can imagine himself as a member of the Flames.
“I’m thinking about it,” Coronato said. “Just to see how next year goes and keep making decisions about it. Right now I’m just looking to improve and see where things take me.
“I think it’s just important for me to keep improving. The staff there are doing a great job of developing guys and moving them forward, so I think another year there, becoming more bigger and stronger, keep growing with a lot of my teammates who I really like. I just thought that was the best move for me.
Coronato, the 13th pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, has more goals to accomplish at the college level.
Scoring happens to be his forte; he led the United States Hockey League with 48 goals for Chicago in 2020-21, and had 36 points (18 goals, 18 assists) in 34 games as a rookie last season and earned league honors. ECAC All-Rookie Team.
He said he felt there was still something to build at Harvard, though his physical stature (5-foot-10, 183 pounds) might not be one of them.
“I spent a lot of time with him over the winter and got to know him well,” Flames development coach Ray Edwards said. “The first thing I noticed with Matthew after not seeing him for a few months was the work he did on his upper body. One of the action items we had for him was to get a little bit stronger in the shoulders, arms, wrists, core, that kind of stuff. I can see he’s done that work before.
It’s one item on a long list of focal points for Coronato, who represented the United States at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in December before the tournament was postponed due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and postponed from August 9 to 20. He will be among 35 forwards to attend USA Hockey’s evaluation camp for the 2022 and 2023 IIHF World Juniors at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., July 24-August 24. 3.
“It’s been a big priority for me,” Coronato said of his rise to prominence. “I’ve been training at home with my trainer. He’s been great. Putting weight on your upper body has been one of the biggest things for me in the offseason. I think it’s going to be important for be tough on the pucks, and just shoot, just everything, overall strength.
“I think my speed is a big area where I can improve and I’m looking to improve. I keep putting on some weight, getting stronger and staying harder on the pucks.
The idea of an improved Coronato should intrigue Harvard and is certainly exciting for the Flames, who hope to welcome the native of Greenlawn, New York, as soon as possible.
And Calgary thinks there’s plenty to be excited about.
“His competitiveness, his love for the game, his willingness to work, his willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed, an amazing person, work ethic,” Edwards said. “That stuff. We’re obviously very excited about him.”