Matthew Coronato’s season is over. The question now is whether that ending leads directly to a new beginning with the Calgary Flames.
General manager Brad Treliving has been stalking courting the Harvard Crimson star out east. And with an 8-1 loss to Ohio State on Friday, Coronato’s sophomore college season is over.
The Calgary Flames’ first-round pick, 13th overall in the 2021 NHL draft, now has a big choice to make. He could turn pro by signing a contract with the Flames, or return to school and delay that decision another year or two. Ultimately, college students control their destiny to some degree. They’re only property of the NHL team that drafted them until the summer of their graduating year. After that, they can sign with anyone.
Of course, top prospects don’t want to wait that long. And signing an entry level deal as early as this weekend with the Calgary Flames would make Coronato a restricted free agent in 2025 — setting him up for an even nicer pay day in just a couple of years.
Former Flames star Johnny Gaudreau inked his deal with the Flames after his junior year, choosing to return for a third season with the Boston College Eagles and winning the Hobey Baker in the process.
We’ll soon find out what Coronato wants to do.
A recent interview with Sportsnet’s Eric Francis suggested the sniper is open to signing with the Flames but wanted to wait for his season to be over before giving it too much thought.
Treliving is there in person, but you can bet a call with Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter was in the works, too.
“Once my season is over, my family, my advisers and I will listen to what Darryl Sutter and Brad Treliving have to say about where they see me fitting into the organization, and then make our decision about whether to sign,” Coronato told Francis a few weeks ago.
“My intention remains to sign with the Calgary Flames when I’m ready, and I would find an opportunity to play in the NHL attractive.”
The question is how soon and how much will Coronato play? There’s no doubt the prospect has been paying attention to his potential parent club. Jakob Pelletier has been with the team for a while, moving in and out of the lineup. Walker Duehr is an older rookie, as is Matthew Phillips, who had a brief stint with the Flames but will become a Group 6 UFA this summer by virtue of his lack of NHL time.
With the NHL playoffs still mathematically possible, it’s tough to imagine Sutter inserting the 20-year-old too quickly. But the dream is nearly dead for the Calgary Flames, which means Coronato’s NHL dream could be right around the corner.