ST. LOUIS - The two stops on the current road swing are extra special for Matt Coronato.

When the team arrived in the Windy City on Monday, it gave the rookie forward a chance to reconnect with his old billets over dinner and reminisce on his junior days with Chicago Steel of the USHL.

“It was awesome,” Coronato said. “I lived with them for two years, they are a great family and they welcomed me and took care of me. It was awesome to see them again and they were at the game yesterday, too, which was great.

“It was almost a little emotional going back to their house, driving around downtown because it was a great two years; I loved played for the Steel and loved living with them.

“I give a lot of credit to the Steel for helping me get to this point, the development there is unbelievable. Looking back and thinking about my time there is special.”

So what’s the connection with St. Louis?

It’s not so much the city but a certain player in Nick Leddy who Coronato grew up watching that has him excited at the opportunity to face him when the Flames take on the Blues Thursday.

He’s played him twice already in his young NHL career but the chance to compete against your childhood idol never gets old.

“His skating always stood out to me when I watched him play with the Islanders,” Coronato said. “He was the best skater on the team so he caught my eye as a kid. Always appreciated his game, he’s a fun guy to watch.

“Probably not a lot of guys say that he was a guy that they watched a lot, I did notice playing against him that he is quick. I had one race with him and he was really moving. He’s a great skater, just played 1,000 NHL games, and a guy I looked up to.”

Splitting time between the NHL and AHL with the Calgary Wranglers, Coronato’s first year of pro has been all about taking everything in.

It has been a big jump but one that he has enjoyed and has had some help along the way to get acclimatised to what being a pro is about.

“A lot of guys have really stepped up to help me,” Coronato said. “Since I’ve played with him all year, Dryden (Hunt) has been someone who has been a big help. But, there’s so many great guys in this room, great leadership, a ton of guys that have helped.

“Everyone has really made me feel comfortable from the start and being with Dryden and Wolife (Dustin Wolf) has been great because they are good friends.”

With 10 games left to go in the NHL regular season, the Flames 2021 first rounder is primed on making the most of his opportunity with the club, both on and off the ice.

“Big focus for me is trying to improve and get better every day," he explained. "Finishing the season strong is my goal right now and take a lot of pride on improving on the little things every day.

“Play the right way, do whatever I can to help the team win. I want to prove myself and prove I belong here and the best way to do that is play my hardest every night.”