Flames notes: Coronato recalled, Kylington ready for more minutes

Coronato was called up by the Flames on Monday, after revealing that rookie standout Connor Zary is day-to-day with an injury

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After Sunday’s matinee, the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers had to scurry to the airport. The farm-clubbers fly commercial, and they were going to be cutting it close.

So Matt Coronato was hustling. Right up until general manager Craig Conroy pulled the kid aside and told him that he didn’t need to rush.

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In this case, a good thing.

“We were going straight from the rink to the airport. There was a bus here for us,” Coronato relayed after Monday’s morning skate — with the Flames, not Wranglers — at the Saddledome. “And Connie told me, ‘Hey, you’re going to stay back. You’re being called up tomorrow.’ I was obviously very happy about that.”

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Indeed, that is the news that every guy in the minors is working for.

Coronato was officially summoned Monday morning, with the Flames revealing in the same release that rookie standout Connor Zary is day-to-day due to an upper-body injury. Although Zary was unavailable for a crucial clash against the Seattle Kraken, head coach Ryan Huska told reporters “it’s a short-term thing.”

Which means, it could be a short stay for Coronato.

Unless, of course, he can force the issue.

The 21-year-old right-winger was a healthy scratch against the Kraken, with Andrei Kuzmenko getting the first crack at filling Zary’s role on the second line.

“I think he has done a really good job in the American League,” said Huska of Coronato, a first-year pro who has averaged 1.05 points per game with the Wranglers. “He has been consistent. He’s on the scoreboard every night, which is something we want to see from him. That’s part of his development. And he’s learning how to play a full season against professional players that are much older, and that can take a lot out of young guy who is coming out of university.

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“Coming off a heavy game yesterday (with the Wranglers), he has a chance to catch his breath a little bit today and we look forward to having him back around our team.”

Calgary Flames' Matt Coronato
Calgary Flames forward Matt Coronato, left, celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 14, 2023. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Coronato, the only pure sharpshooter in the Flames’ prospect pipeline, has so far totalled 16 appearances on NHL ice.

His most recent recall lasted for eight days before he was returned to the Wranglers.

Prior to that, there was a four-day promotion.

Asked after Monday’s morning skate if he puts added pressure on himself, knowing there’s a possibility of another quick turnaround, he replied: “Yeah, I do.”

“At the end of the day, all I want to do is play my game and continue to keep improving my game and continue to get more comfortable playing at this level,” he stressed. “But every day is an opportunity and a challenge so I think if you’re not looking to make the most of it, you’re probably not doing enough.”

Kylington

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The Flames have no doubt that Oliver Kylington is capable of a more prominent role.

He was, after all, a top-four fixture during his breakout campaign in 2021-22.

And, as Huska reminded: “I think Oliver could handle 40 minutes a night, with the way he skates.”

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Forty minutes won’t be necessary, but it’ll likely be standard to see Kylington log 20-plus for the remainder of this season.

With the departure of Chris Tanev, the 26-year-old Kylington has now been bumped up from the third pairing and will also see increased duties on the penalty-kill. During Saturday’s dramatic comeback victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was tapped for 20:31, by far his highest total since returning from his leave of absence for mental-health reasons.

“I think you will see more out of me if I play more minutes,” Kylington told Postmedia. “I think I can give more of my abilities to the team if I get put on different, other situations. I’m not going change anything. You guys know how I play, and I know how I play.

“I’m just going to do that, and probably you will see more of that if I get more minutes. But I’m not trying to paint the picture bigger than it maybe is. I’m just going to play my game and do what I’m good at. I’m not going to change anything.”

Kylington is currently paired with Rasmus Andersson, a good pal and fellow Swede. Their friendship dates to their draft day in 2015 — they were both selected by the Flames in the second round, just seven picks apart.

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Oliver Kylington
Oliver Kylington defends against Drew O’Connor during Saturday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Derek Leung/Getty Images

“It just makes it way easier,” Kylington said. “We know our games and we know each other well off the ice, as well. So it’s just fun. I think we complement each other well out there, and it’s good that we’ll get more games to show that.”

ICE CHIPS: Zary was injured during Saturday’s tilt with the Penguins. The 22-year-old left-winger exited after only one shift in the third period. “Connor, we thought he was going to be alright,” Huska said prior to Monday’s meeting with the Kraken. “And sometimes, the next day, they don’t respond quite as well. So he won’t be in the lineup tonight but it is a short-term thing.”

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