CALGARY — The Calgary Flames newest prospect is a bit of an animal — a bison, in fact.
Matthew Coronato said he earned the nickname "The Bison" from the announcer and hockey operations staff during his time with the USHL's Chicago Steel.
"I'm not exactly sure how they came up with it," said Coronato, who was picked 13th overall by the Flames in the NHL entry draft Friday. "Because I go to the net hard and ram like the bison is what they said. I don't have the exact explanation, but it was funny, it was entertaining."
Coming into the draft, Coronato, a five-foot-10, 183-pound right-winger was the No. 9-ranked North American skater. He led the USHL with 48 goals last season.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving said he likes the way Coronato scores his goals.
"The motor that he has, the ability to go into hard areas, sort of out will people, create chances for himself and his teammates," he said. "Just a skill package for us that's based in a high-end compete. It's just a hard-working kid that's driven to succeed. So really like the player and we're excited to select him."
Coronato has committed to playing for Harvard next season but said he isn't set on finishing four years at the Ivy League university.
“I want to play in the NHL, I want to play for the Flames," he said.
With the draft being held virtually for the second year in a row, Treliving made the announcement via video stream from the Saddledome in Calgary.
Calgary was handed the No. 13 pick after finishing the year out of the playoffs with a 26-27-3 record. The Flames' season was punctuated by a coaching change in early March when Darryl Sutter replaced Geoff Ward as bench boss.
The club will have six picks to go when the draft resumes with the second round on Saturday, including No. 45, 77, 84, 141, 173 and 205.
Calgary made some moves before making its first pick in the 2020 draft, dropping from 19th spot down to 24th before selecting centre Connor Zary.
Zary played an shortened season with the Western Hockey League's Kamloops Blazers this year and put up 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in 15 games.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2021.