Flames top prospect Matt Coronato might have a new best friend in Jakob Pelletier

Mar 29 2023, 5:44 pm

Matt Coronato has only been around the Calgary Flames for 24 hours, but he might already have a new best friend.

Jakob Pelletier.

Pelletier, the No. 26 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, has already taken the 20-year-old Coronato under his wing to help ease his transition from NCAA standout with Harvard to the latest pro prospect joining the Flames pool.

“One hundred per cent,” Coronato told Ryan Leslie of Sportsnet in an intermission interview on Tuesday. “He was unbelievable today with helping me through drills, helping me with really everything. We went to lunch together. He picked me up on his way here. He’s been a real leader for such a young guy here.”

Not bad, considering Pelletier himself just turned 22 earlier in March.

But, age aside, it’s something Pelletier — still a rookie himself with just 23 NHL games under his belt — felt the need to take on.

“He’s close to my age, right?” Pelletier told Ryan Dittrick of CalgaryFlames.com. “I remember my first practice with the team. I was kind of scared and stressed out because I wasn’t sure what the drills were going to be like.

“I just wanted to help. We were on the same line with Rosey (Adam Ruzicka) and I just wanted to help explain some of the drills and help make him more comfortable out there. He’s a smart guy, so it was pretty easy for me to explain.”

Pelletier, a healthy scratch in six of the past seven games, made his NHL debut in February and has seven points (three goals, four assists) at hockey’s highest level.

Coronato, airlifted to Calgary after inking his entry-level contract late Sunday, arrived on the scene Tuesday morning.

“I can’t really describe it,” Coronato said in his first media address since opting to leave Harvard to join the Flames down the stretch. “I’ve been saying ‘exciting’ a lot. It’s the word that keeps coming to mind. Everything’s really exciting. I’m just grateful to be here right now. It’s an unbelievable opportunity. Just really happy.”

In the same availability, Coronato suggested he and Pelletier were grabbing lunch.

They eventually did, as Coronato mentioned. The pair watched Tuesday’s 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings together, too.

Budding prospects. Budding friendship.

And, potentially, the future of the Flames.

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