The 2015-16 rookie class for Les Canadiennes will be remembered for Marie-Philip Poulin, but it was the depth that was added that will help Montreal take the next step, and Karell Emard fits right in.
Emard came to the CWHL from coaching in the NCAA at Colgate University. She had previously played at Dawson College (where she knows a lot of her teammates from) and at St. Lawrence University in the NCAA. However, when she was drafted by Montreal in the CWHL, it was expected that Emard, who played forward, would transition to defence.
And what a transition it was. She led all Montreal defenders with seven goals, and added six assists for 13 points. She added an assist in the team's three playoff games. Even more impressive is that only two of her points during the season (both goals) were on the power play. The rest were at even strength.
A lot of her goals were scored due to her puck skills that she used as a forward. She also has a very good shot from the point.
Emard played herself into a very good third pair defender for Les Canadiennes, and really, could be higher up if it wasn't for the players ahead of her on the depth chart. On a unit that isn't very deep, Emard's contributions were huge for the team this season. Her 13 points put her sixth among all CWHL defenders and in top spot among rookie defenders league-wide.
Her path of coaching to the CWHL, and that's something she does still help out with at Concordia University, is similar to her teammate and colleague Julie Chu. Both also converted from forward to defence and you do see certain similarities in their style of play as converted defenders.
One thing Emard might want to cut down would be the number of penalties that she took. She had 42 penalty minutes in her 24 games, which was tied for most in the entire league with Rebecca Vint, a forward.