Matthew Coronato is among the more talented goal scorers in this year’s draft class after finishing his second season with the USHL’s Chicago Steel producing at nearly a goal-per-game rate.
Coronato had a franchise record 48 goals plus 85 points in 51 regular-season games in 2020-21, plus another nine goals and 13 points in eight post-season games.
He was named 2021 USHL Forward of the Year – an award Kyle Connor, Blake Coleman and Jaden Schwartz all won in the past – and finished the season ranked as Central Scouting’s No. 9 skater in North America.
Team: Chicago Steel, USHL
Position: Right winger
From: Greenlawn, N.Y.
Weight: 183 pounds
“Scoring goals in the USHL is very difficult and Matt made it look easy this year,” Steel coach Brock Sheahan said. “We have been so fortunate to have him as a part of this organization as both a player and a person. Matt has grown so much as a player and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Matt is just starting his hockey career and I can’t wait to see him continue to grow as a player. If he gets into traffic with possession, he comes out with (the puck). He's just a really smart player.”
There was significant progression from Coronato’s first to his second year with the Steel after scoring 18 goals and 40 points in his 45 games as a USHL rookie. His discipline improved as well, logging 12 fewer penalty minutes in his second year despite playing six more games.
“When we first got him, I thought he was an up-and-down player, who could beat guys one-on-one and score off the rush,” Sheahan added. “He’s scored every single way that you can imagine this year and he’s done it consistently – off a pass, catch and shoot, around the net, obviously breaking guys down.
“Then, he became more of a playmaker, too. I feel like his vision improved. His separating trait is his work ethic; his compete level. I’ve never seen a guy work that hard, that consistently, at any level, so that bodes well for him in his future.”
The American needs more development before he’s NHL ready. He’ll do that on the college circuit in 2021-22 having already committed to Harvard.
What do the experts say?
Sam Cosentino: “Despite being a little smallish, not the most fleet of foot, and not the greatest shooter, Coronato is highly competitive and drives play. He’s sniping at a pace rarely seen in the USHL. … A driver of play and not a sidecar on the best team in the league.”
Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com: “The forward was second in the USHL with 85 points in 51 games and led the league with 19 power-play goals and eight game-winning goals. He'll continue his development at Harvard next season.”
Adam Kimelman of NHL.com: “Coronato was a dominant offensive force who blended top-end goal scoring, strong skating, and a physical approach similar to United States Hockey Hall of Fame forward John LeClair. He led the United States Hockey League with 48 goals in 51 games and the league in scoring in the playoffs with 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in eight games.”