2021 NHL Draft Profile: Matthew Coronato

Over the coming weeks, we’re going to take time (as we do every year) to break down some of the top options the Chicago Blackhawks might target in the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft.

This year, the Chicago Blackhawks own the 11th overall selection in the first round, which makes the options less easy to narrow down than years past (especially when the Hawks had the third overall selection). But there are some intriguing names who could be on the board when the Blackhawks are on the clock.

Let’s get started with a name that USHL fans in Chicago know well — and a few mock drafts have linked to the Blackhawks already.

Matthew Coronato
5-10 / 183
Chicago Steel (USHL) – committed to Harvard University (NCAA)

Ranked #9 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #21 by TSN/Bob McKenzie
Ranked #13 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #24 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #21 by SPORTSNET’S
Ranked #29 by SMAHT SCOUTING

From Corey Pronman (The Athletic)

#15 overall prospect
Skating: Above-average
Puck Skills: Average
Hockey Sense: Average
Compete: Above-average
Shot: Above-average

“Coronato was one of the best players in the USHL and among the leaders in most offensive categories. Coronato is an undersized forward with a lot of skill who can make plays with pace. He’s a strong skater, not elite for a small guy, but good enough to be an NHL player. He’s able to create controlled entries with his speed and skill, and make tough plays to his teammates on the move. Coronato is also able to play the half-wall on the power play and find seams as well as finish from distance. He killed penalties for Chicago and works hard enough to advance levels and win battles despite his size. In a sentence, Coronato projects as a versatile second-line NHL winger.”

From Chris Peters’ Hockey Sense

#17 overall prospect
“Between the regular season and Clark Cup playoffs, Coronato had 57 goals and 98 points for the champion Steel. He was the forward of the year in the USHL and put together one of the best goal scoring seasons the league has seen in the Tier 1 era. You don’t put those numbers up without have a special amount of talent. Coronato isn’t exceptionally skilled in terms of his ability to beat defenders one-on-one or make some fancy plays. He has an exceptional awareness, however, of the routes he needs to take off the rush or inside the offensive zone to put himself in the best position to score. He pops into soft areas well without the puck, too. Coronato has a heavy shot that gets on goalies in a hurry. His skating is solid, but not a standout trait. Coronato plays with great effort, too. He engages in puck battles, goes hard to the net when he has the lane and generally plays smart, reliable hockey in the defensive zone. His historic season was well-earned.”

From LastWordonHockey.com

Coronato could use some work on his skating. His stride is a bit short and choppy. This takes away from his acceleration and top-end speed. He also could use some work on his agility and edgework. Coronato should be able to improve these areas if he can work with a good skating coach. In fact, his skating has already improved from his rookie year in the USHL. Overall he is decent but could be much better with a bit of work. One area that he does excel is in his strength and balance on his skates. He has a low centre of gravity. He is very hard to knock off the puck. If Coronato goes into a battle for the puck, he usually comes out with it. This is true along the boards and in front of the net.

Offensive Game
Coronato has an outstanding wrist shot and release. He may even have the best shot in the draft. He has real power and accuracy on his wrist shot, as well as the ability to quickly change the angle and release point with his quick hands. This extends to his snapshot as well, and he can use that as a weapon on the wing. Coronato has a very good one-timer and a knack for getting it on the net from the “Ovechkin Spot” on the power play. He is also able to establish his position in front of the net, getting deflections and pouncing on rebounds. He has the ability to elevate the puck quickly and beat goalies in tight.

Coronato’s game is relatively simple. He plays a very “North-South” style, not trying a lot of fancy dangles or slick plays. Coronato is always driving the net, both with and without the puck. He forechecks effectively as well as battling well along the boards. His passing game is decent but he projects to be more of a goal scorer than a playmaker. He moves the puck with short, quick passes and then looks to get open away from the play.

Defensive Game
Coronato is also a good defensive player. He backchecks and works to support the defence down low. However, he can be overpowered by bigger and stronger opponents. He provides effective back pressure against the rush. Coronato is strong positionally and uses his stick as well as his body to cut down passing and shooting lanes. He reads the play well and anticipates where to be to cut off scoring chances. He has a non-stop motor and is willing to battle for pucks in all three zones. When a turnover is created, Coronato is quick to move the puck up the ice and start the transition game.

Projection and Comparison
Coronato is a versatile player. He has been used in all three forward positions for the Steel over the past two years. That versatility will also be a major asset, though he will need to improve his lateral mobility in order to excel at the centre position in the pros. His future may lie on the wing instead. Coronato will need some time, and going to Harvard will give him a reduced schedule and allow him to put on weight in the weight room. He could be a top-six NHL forward. Coronato can play on the power play and penalty kill if he reaches his ceiling. His game is reminiscent of Kyle Palmieri but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.

36 thoughts on “2021 NHL Draft Profile: Matthew Coronato

  • June 22, 2021 at 10:05 am

    second sentence above….. “undersized forward.” nine of twelve rating services have him ranked 21 to 36. seems like the perfect small guy who “knows more than anyone else in the room” bowman loves to reach for.

  • June 22, 2021 at 10:12 am

    For all those that like to play ‘what if’, Capfriendly has an Expansion Draft Simulator (just Google it) where you can check off who you would protect, who is already exempt (and why) and see who would be left unprotected.

    (For fun, check out Tampa Bay on the simulator. It would the 1st place I would draw from if I’m the Seattle GM.)

    BTW, the Blackhawks have Seabrook and Shaw exempt because they are on the LTIR – but NOT Toews. Because of his NMC, the Blackhawks are required to put him on the Protected list.

    Perhaps Ian in right and Toews is coming back.

    Otherwise, Bowman is a complete idiot (entirely possible) for not putting him on the LTIR exempt list and thus burning a Protected spot on a guy who is not coming back.

  • June 22, 2021 at 10:32 am

    When you see comments on his skating suggesting this needs work and combined with his lack of size drafting this kid with our first round pick does not meet the needs of this team at this time. If you`re drafting a forward with this pick, we need more size and speed to help us play a heavier game going forward. Coronato looks to be a good early second round pick to me at best.

  • June 22, 2021 at 10:41 am

    “What if” one or both of the goalies are still on the board when the Hawks pick – would you try to trade the pick to a lower tier team who needs a goalie in exchange for their 2022 1st round pick? The rationale for the Hawks would be to get another lottery chip (along with their own) for a shot at the top of the 2022 draft where there will be some very highly regarded players. If you get one of the top few spots, the player may be ready for the NHL sooner than the guy you get at #11 this year anyway.

    I would.

    Granted, you never know if there is a Pastrnak or Barzal in the latter part of the 1st round until they burst on the scene – but there isn’t any player who really intrigues me who isn’t projected to go in the top-10 this year.

  • June 22, 2021 at 11:05 am

    My wish list for Stan this summer……….
    1. No to Eichel
    2. I like Seth Jones and would throw my hat in the ring here if only to stabilize the defense for the next many years. Depending on what it would take to trade for him and if he would sign here long term he takes Boqvists spot on Defense and makes us much better right away ( assuming Boqvist is included in any trade for Jones ). We won`t miss Boqvist when you see Jones back there every night.
    3. Trade Beaudin to Montreal for big center Ryan Poehling. I think he`s a year older than Beaudin, plays for Montreal`s AHL team and is close to an NHL roster spot They`re both former 1st round picks. Rumor when Beaudin was drafted was that Bergevin liked him. I think Poehling has more upside for us and fits a bigger need.
    4. With Boqvist and Beaudin gone spots open up on defense for bigger, stronger, tougher to play against defenders which is what we need.
    5. Trade Strome and Zadarov for all the reasons mentioned here previously. You might get a 2nd round pick for Strome at best but it has to be done. Maybe we can convince Seattle to take one or both of these guys in the expansion draft.
    6. Find a taker for Carpenter ( somehow ) this summer because countless number of our other 3rd and fourth lines can do his job. I`d rather try and keep Vinnie Hinostroza for his place and salary on the roster.
    7. Bury Connolly in the minors if no one will take on his salary. He showed nothing in his brief stint and you can`t pay that much money to a fourth liner.
    8. At the draft this year, unless a better player is available when the Hawks pick, look to replace Boqvist and Beaudin with a big strong mobile Defensemen. Wish we had Noah Dobson or even Brayden Shneider.
    9. Overall, get bigger and faster at all positions wherever possible.

    My two cents only. Thanks

  • June 22, 2021 at 11:19 am

    @ebonyr..I don’t think we would be able to get a 2022 first rounder for moving back say 7 or 8 spots..last year, when the Hawks were trying to move up from 16 to 10 to take Askarov, it sounded like the price (whatever it was) was too high for us to accept..I would assume that the inverse this year would be the same for the other team, despite the Hawks being on the other side of the equation..plus, don’t the Hawks need goaltending? If Wallstedt is sitting there at 11, I run to the podium for him..that’s very good value at 11..Reichel and Wallstedt would be a nice haul for our last two first round picks..

  • June 22, 2021 at 11:31 am

    Slayer – not sure what you mean “moving back say 7 or 8 spots..”. I meant our 2021 #1 pick (#11) for their 2022 #1 pick which could be anywhere in the lottery if the trading partner is not good enough to make the playoffs, The trading partner would (#1) really want the goalie, and (#2) bet on themselves to finish better than #11 next season. A team like Buffalo probably wouldn’t do it because they will be bad enough to almost surely finish in the top-5 next season. But maybe a team like Anaheim would bite because the feel like they’re closer to a playoff position so they could be out of the top-10 next season. For the Hawks – it would be another lottery ball shot at the top of the draft or at the very least a mid-first round pick.

  • June 22, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    @ebonyr..oh I see..I thought you meant a team would give the Hawks their 2022 first just to move up in this year’s draft from 18 to 11 as an example..regardless, in your scenario, wouldn’t the team trading with the Hawks simply add the caveat that the pick is lottery protected for 2022? I just don’t see a scenario where a team trades a potential lottery pick to the Hawks for next year’s draft..every team who thinks they may be in the lottery next year wants a crack at Shane Wright..

  • June 22, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    EB most trades of 1st rounders include lottery protection, if pick ends up being a lottery pick then team has option to give up 23 1st pick instead. Probably need to luck out like Avs did with Bowen Byram, Sens kept Brady Tkachuk pick and next year was a lotto pick too.

  • June 22, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Slayer/Ian – my proposal start with the trading partner wanting one of those top goalies bad enough to take a chance on trading their 2022 1st round pick with no lottery protection. I wouldn’t do the trade if there was a lottery protection. That’s the give and take of the deal – get a potential top flight goalie but give up a potential lottery pick.

  • June 22, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    What teams would fit in the category of moving up a number picks wanting a goalie at 11th for a 1st pick next that would be a given lottery pick next year. Some will but picking sure thing could be quite a crapshoot.

  • June 22, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    I wouldn’t mind Coronato if the Hawks were a little lower in the first round but I think there will be better prospects available at 11 even though Craig Button has him at 11 in his latest mock

    Some names from which to choose at 11 who are not Coronato include – Wallstaedt Svechkov McTavish Evindsson

    At least one of those – maybe more than one of those will be available at 11 IMO

  • June 22, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    Saying Nylander is exempt from expansion draft, slide years don’t count even if in Ahl when sliding unlike Kero last expansion draft who’s Ahl slide year count towards eligibilty. That would mean he won’t need protection, Borgstrom Gaudette and maybe Strome or Kampf protected if 7 forwards. Possibly go 8 skaters now 4D, with Toews, Kane, Cat and Borgstrom.

  • June 22, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    Can the Hawks buyout Connolly?
    Can the Hawks buyout (retired) Shaw?

    If both are bought out:
    Saves 3.6M 2021-2
    Saves 1.7M 2022-3
    Costs 1.2 in 23-24 and in 24-25

    Can’t see Connolly being part of the rebuild.

  • June 22, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    I like what people say about Tavish tahts the kind I like another Hoss Saad kind of player. Others are/could be good to.

    Just get the right player like we did with Dach maybe being the top player in that draft. With this draft lets try to get a top 5-8 quality if others pass on some.

    The FW seems like the better pick in this draft and get top pair player from ufa/any yr in next 36 mths. Has to be a Defensemen like Hammer or one thats good at both OFF and DEF cant be a shrimp.

  • June 22, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    Evindsson could be worth taking a Defensemen otherwise the FW. Another FW gives us trhee top 6 FW in the last few drafts Dach Reichel Tavish.

  • June 23, 2021 at 12:30 am

    MO, The jury is still out on Dach. This is a huge training camp and year for him to show that he is progressing in the right direction. I hope he heals and does the necessary skating and strength work over the next couple of months. Just read that Matthew Tkachuk wants out of Calgary. Guys like him would change the complexion and compete level of this team. I am still a MacTavish guy for that 11th pick. It would be nice if he was still there. JIM ROSS-Very nice wish list. I really like your subtractions. Mine would be Strome,Zadorov,Carpenter,Kamph,Nylander,Connolly,and Boqvist & DeHaan. Colliton and staff could be shown the door also. This team needs a big culture change and some different voices in that locker room.

  • June 23, 2021 at 6:38 am

    Bob, Connelly can be bought out but that option is gone now for Shaw and Seabrook being on ltir until their contracts are up and retire officially.

    Like the picks being mentioned, just hope they get the right one that can be a core player for a number of years.

  • June 23, 2021 at 6:45 am

    Bob looks like next year be an ltir year with Shaw and Seabrook contracts, Connelly can be waived, if nobody claims him, then buried in minors with a little over 1m caphit saved, enough room for an elc salary to replace him if they want. Shaws contract done after this year and then maybe move last 2 years of Seabrooks caphit like Hossa if a taker willing.

  • June 23, 2021 at 7:49 am

    I don’t see how this player fits with the European Blackhawks.

  • June 23, 2021 at 8:41 am

    I like what I read about Coronato- seems like a Higher skilled – Hagel
    or Marchand -lite

    Impressive numbers in USHL

    GOES to net!

    All over the rankings by “experts”… so maybe trade down- If Hawk’s true number 1 guy is off the board… and get some more picks ??? And still land Coronato.

  • June 23, 2021 at 9:36 am

    Ian – that’s great news about Nylander being exempt from the expansion draft

    7F – T,K, Cat, Hagel, Borg, Strome, Gaudette or Kampf

    3D – Keith, Z (if signed), Murph

    1G – Lank

    Lose either Stillman, DeHaan Kampf or Gaudette with this scenario
    Personally I would protect Gaudette and expose Kampf

    or 8 skaters including 4 D- T, K, Keith, Murph, Cat, Z (if signed), Stillman, Hagel or Borg

    Could lose Strome, Gaudette, Kampf, Hagel or Borg
    Can’t see them leaving either Borgstrom or Hagel exposed and probably not Strome either

    The 7 Fws 3 D option still seems best – maybe throw a draft choice or lesser prospect Seattle’s way to get them to take DeHaan which they may do on their own anyway

  • June 23, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Sorry but no to any more smurfs unless it’s Bedard. That won’t be until the ’23 draft. Agree with Ebony to trade down if someone would like a player available at 11 for a non protected future pick plus this years pick. That future pick I would want for ’23.

    Looks like Highlander exempt so protect Gaudette. Heard it here first. Gaudette will become one of our top 6 if not top 4.

    6′ plus is my choice in draft that’s not a goalie. McTavish Sillinger Lambos …..

  • June 23, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Wrap agree on the 7f and 3d most likely scenario to be protected.

    The Blackhawks with their strong scouting group in Europe might have somebody targeted there, but may also take another North American to join recent 1st and 2nd rd. picks like Dach, Cat, Mitchell, Beaudin, Vlassic and Commesso. Just hope it’s a good pick.

  • June 23, 2021 at 11:34 am

    Nobody wants small guys like Dcat or Cole ( Goal ) Caufield…..right ?

  • June 23, 2021 at 11:36 am

    Protect Hagel and Gaudette and dare them to take Strome. After his words at the end of the season combined with his inconsistent play he should be gone anyway. Noticed that some heavy players from the HABS are pushing around Vegas. Very nice to see. Does Danault ever lose a faceoff?

  • June 23, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Hey Tim – it’s not the occasional check that has the Knights on their knees. It’s the smothering defensive play by 100% of the guys on the ice. If Montreal was being physically in control of the play, Ryan Reeves would be dressed. The Knights need to play hockey, not rockem-sockem robots.

    It’s amazing what a less-talented team can do simply through effort, desire and buying into a system. They are clearly in the heads of the Knights.

    Hopefully the league stays out of the way for the remainder of the series.

  • June 23, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Silent agree, Habs team speed especially at Center is really noticeable, Vegas has no time in Habs zone to mount any real offense due to their relentless pressure in center ice area and Dzone. In Vegas zone the defenders doing alot of puck watching not defending, Montreal forwards speed giving them tons of room and clear lanes to fire away, players have lots of options with puck and less turnovers. Anybody still believe Danault is a 4th line Center and his wanting to show he is a top center is just whining.

  • June 23, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    Danault is a classic 3C like Rob Neidermayer but not a top centre – he doesn’t have a point in the series or a goal in the playoffs

    He’s playing great D which is what a classic 3C does – like Bolland except Bolland scored more often

    Vegas literally has no centre who is even a good 2C – Chandler Stephenson and William Karlsson could be 3C on a Cup winner – in the WPG series Schielfe was suspended and vs TOR Tavares was hurt and although Danault did a good job vs Matthews he hit a lot of posts and Price beat him a number of times – Matthews had lots of chances – he wasn’t shut down like the Stephenson line has been with no high danger chances

    Didn’t Danault turn down $5 million or more a year at the start of this year – I just don’t see a team giving him $6 million/year but what do I know

    If it’s Tampa and Mtl in the Final let’s see how Danault does vs Point’s line

  • June 23, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Wrap its about wins and losses not excuses, not everything is measured in goals and assists.

  • June 23, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Ian – I hear what you’re saying but GMs pay the big bucks for goals and points not to shutdown centres – they don’t pay defenders as much as forwards generally and if they do it’s because they’re also point producers

    If Danault gets more than MTL offered him well good for him but if I’m a GM I wouldn’t go there – he turned down $30 M for 6 years – $5 M AAV – would you pay him more than that?

    I’m not saying he’s not playing great just that I wouldn’t pay him more then $5 million/year – he’s not shutting down Vegas all by himself – he’s got good defensive wingers and a solid top 4 on D and a world class goalie to help him out plus Vegas was shut down by DAL last year so maybe there’s a problem with Vegas as well as Danault is playing

  • June 23, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Silent, I agree with you on that and the fact that the Vegas Centers are non-existent so far. They had TUCH centering their top line for a couple of periods before they had to abandon that plan. Montreal,s 4th line is dominating zone time with Staal and Perry. That PRICE guy is also pretty decent in the net.

  • June 23, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    I hear yeah Wrap and agree, is he your prototypical Center definitely not, but has he played top center role helping to get his team within a game of finals, sure has and that’s worth sonething. New coach loves him, they’ll pay him.

  • June 23, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Ian – agree – after these playoffs particularly if the Habs make the Finals or even win it all the Habs will in all likelihood pay him at least closer to what he wants

  • June 24, 2021 at 12:13 am

    I like Danault a lot donot like MTL.

    Even though not wanting to see TB win 2 times I donot like teams that wouldnt be in playoffs if it wasnt corona divisions.

    TB 4 MTL 0

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