Prospect Check-In: Matthew Coronato of the Chicago Steel
The Chicago Steel’s Matthew Coronato has been on everyone’s radar to start the USHL season.
The prospect has been in the spotlight thanks to 16 points, seven goals and nine assists in the first six games of the campaign. That total leads the Steel and the league in points, while playing well over a point-per-game pace, posting multiple multi-point games.
“My confidence has been up to start this year,” Coronato said. “Learning the way this team plays all of last year, and getting comfortable, has helped me come in and start strong.”
Just a few days ago, the five-foot-10, 181-pound player was named Forward of the Week by the USHL, after putting up three goals and five assists for eight points in his last three games played.
Coronato showing off skill to start season
The 2021 NHL Draft-eligible prospect is on a skilled Steel team with lots of talent for the upcoming draft. With his early hot start, he’s looking like one of the top players out of all the draft-eligibles in the USHL. And it hasn’t just been his confidence that has helped him climb the statistical leaderboard.
“My speed has been really important in my game,” Coronato continued. “I think it has helped me create space and helped me make a lot of plays out there.”
While the strong start is promising, the young American knows he still has some aspects of his game to work on as the season progresses.
“One thing I would like to improve on is my physical play,” he said. “Down low and when we are trying to get pucks back, I think being physical, even as a skilled forward, will help my game a lot.”
Watching Coronato play, his ability to go from zero to hundred up ice with the puck is very evident. His skating looks significantly improved compared to last season, which is catching the eyes of many scouts. With his quick skating mechanics, he does an adequate job of finding space to make a play, whether it is feeding a teammate a pass or finishing a shot, he can be flat out dangerous when he has the time and space.
“He has a certain level of deceptiveness to his skating which makes him tough to defend and contain in the offensive zone”, FCHockey’s regional scout, Chris Smith said in a recent scouting report on Coronato.
“He is very good at driving through lanes or openings to get to the net or pull a defender to him and then create a play.”
Coronato’s defensive game is still a work in progress, but he does a solid job of moving his feet, bringing a high motor, and being tenacious on pucks along the boards.
Coronato meshing well with linemates, teammates
The New York, New York native is currently playing on the right-wing, alongside linemates Erik Minnendorf and Adam Robbins.
“I love my linemates,” Coronato said. “Me and Minnendorf played together for a good chunk of last season, so we have some good chemistry. We have worked really well so far. Robbins is a really smart hockey player and he has been great to play with. It is still early in the season, but we are building some chemistry.”
As for the Steel as a whole, Coronato has high hopes for the team and believes they are on the right track.
“It’s still early and we have a young team,” Coronato stated. “A lot of first-year guys, but everyone is starting to get more comfortable.
“The adjustment period in the USHL is different for everyone, but as the year goes on our team will continue to get better and I think we are heading in the right direction.”
With this year throwing a bunch of twists and turns, the status of games and the season as a whole is uncertain, with games being postponed fairly often in the young season. The uncertainty of the season hurts a lot of prospects for the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft, but Coronato is doing everything he can to show off his talent for NHL scouts.
“The biggest part of my game is my compete level,” he said. “I believe that going out there every shift and giving it all you have is really important. Working hard is a big key for me.
“That is what I want everyone to know, that I will work hard every night no matter what situation.”