For the fourth straight draft, and the fifth time in six years, the Montreal Canadiens selected a goaltender in the NHL Draft. This time, they used a sixth round pick to select Alberta-native Emmett Croteau from Waterloo in the USHL.
Birthplace: Bonnyville, Alberta
Date of birth: December 7, 2003
Weight: 194 lbs.
Team: Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL)
Croteau is committed to Clarkson University in New York State in the NCAA for next season, and that is where he will continue his development. He just finished his second season in the USHL. In the 2020-21 season, he was named to the Second All-Rookie Team.
His USHL numbers don’t leap off the page, but his .899 save percentage this past season was good enough for 10th in the league. He also played six playoff games this season, with a 3-3 record, 2.71 goals against average, and a .913 save percentage. His team won the first series before falling in the best-of-three series in round two.
His numbers at the U18 level shows why the Canadiens thought there could be some potential. He was ranked 10th among North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting. FC Hockey had him ranked 269th, while Recruit Scouting had him at #199.
“He’s a big goalie who moves extremely well,” said Canadiens co-director of amateur scouting Nick Bobrov. “He’s going to Clarkson, so in terms of development curve in college that gives him enough time to develop. Our goalie experts were pretty high on this kid. This wasn’t a draft where goalies were going in the first or second round. We wanted to find the best goalie we could find a little bit later and he was number one on that list and we’re very happy to find him.”
Croteau has been taking online high school classes at his Alberta school while playing for Waterloo in the USHL. He has been playing hockey outside of Alberta for three seasons. Prior to the USHL, he played high school hockey in California and U18 hockey with the Ontario Jr Reign. While there, he won goaltender of the year honours, as well as a state championship and was named to the academic all-star team.
As is the case for most goaltenders, size is a benefit. Every goalie the team has picked after 2017 has been 6’3” or taller.
Croteau was the first Waterloo goaltender to be drafted since Jared Moe in 2018. His teammate Sam Rinzel was the 25th overall pick by the Chicago Blackhawks. Croteau’s brother Carson is a defenceman and was just drafted in the 11th round (227th overall) of the WHL Bantam Draft.
There is obviously a lot of development to be done, but the combination of size and athleticism has the Canadiens optimistic. It must be said that they have had good luck in this regard as Cayden Primeau, Frederik Dichow, and Jakub Dobes have progressed nicely in the organization.
The team will surely monitor his progression at Clarkson next season and beyond, and feel it is an environment that will help his development.