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2021 Draft Prospect Profile: Matthew Coronato—“The Bison” Brings It All to the Table

With a wicked shot, smart playmaking, and 200-foot, all-situation utility, Matt Coronato is coming into this draft as a top contender for any team.

Who is Matthew Coronato?

Matt “The Bison” Coronato is a center/right wing for the Chicago Steel of the USHL. Coronato absolutely walked the league this season, putting up an outstanding 85 points in 51 games from a nicely balanced 48 goals and 37 assists. The 5’10, 180lb forward is nicknamed “The Bison” by league commentators for his strength on his skates and his determination to get into any dirty areas and win any puck battle. He’s committed to Harvard next season, where it’s expected he’ll continue his development for the next few years.

Where is he ranked?

What do the experts have to say about him?

The Positives:

Coronato is one of the hardest workers at getting the puck, keeping the puck, and shooting the puck. Always moving in a zillion directions, the Long Island native and Harvard recruit scored a USHL-best 48 goals but is versatile and creative enough to dominate as a center or wing.”-Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

“Coronato is a multi-faceted offensive threat that can play every forward position and any style you ask of him. He can run a power play, kill penalties and of course, put up points at an alarming rate. His work ethic is unmatched on the forecheck and he never gives up on a puck, which will make him a very valuable asset for an NHL coach someday...Coronato also has an incredible shot in his arsenal that’s on and off his stick in a hurry whether it be a one-timer or just a normal wrist shot. His hands are on display nightly too, as he isn’t afraid to try things one-on-one. Then to put a huge cherry on top, the crease doesn’t seem to be something he’s afraid of either, which has earned him the nickname The Bison by Steel announcer Mark Citron.”-Matthew Zator, The Hockey Writers

“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.”-Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports

And the Negatives:

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.”-Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports

Some Highlights:

Some Thoughts on Him:

He can skate, he can shoot, he can score, he can make passes, he can even kill penalties and work on the power play. Many argue he’s not the best or fastest skater, although everyone seems to agree that he’s one of the toughest skaters to knock off the puck and Sam Cosentino said he’s one of the best skaters in the draft class. He doesn’t have the cleanest stride, but his skating has noticably improved since last season, and it certainly doesn’t seem to hinder his game any. It will need to continue to improve in order for him to keep up at the NHL level.

His shot is positively electric. His release is almost impossibly quick and he tends to be accurate with it. He’s even more deadly if you let him get in close to the net and honestly, there’s not much stopping him from getting there. His nickname “The Bison” comes from his absolute tenacity at getting in front of the net, battling for position, battling for pucks, and winning those battles. He’s not as big of a player as you’d expect for someone named The Bison—maybe more of a pit bull would be accurate—but the name certainly isn’t far from accurate.

He also applies that tenacity and strength to helping out his defense as well. He isn’t the most defensively skilled forward out there, but he forechecks and backchecks with vigor and does a good job of cutting down puck lanes and staying in position until he can wrestle the puck away.

So, Should We Draft Him?

Coronato is skilled in all areas, and is completely aware and making positive progress on the few areas he isn’t a top contender in. He’s an elite combination of a shooter and a playmaker, and a versatile forward with center experience and a good face-off draw as well. To be competely honest, I really don’t think this player is going to be available when we draft at the end of the first round. He’d be a great pick and he’s got a strong future on whatever team does grab him, but with so few weaknesses and none that can’t be improved, I would be shocked if he isn’t drafted in the early 20s. There are a few scouts that think he’ll drop down to us though— Dobber Prospects and Elite Prospects— so who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and be able to turn The Bison into a New Jersey Devil.