Emmett Croteau proved to be a workhorse in the Waterloo Black Hawks’ net during the latter part of the 2021/22 season, and his play convinced the Montreal Canadiens that they should choose him during the 2022 NHL Draft.
On Friday, Croteau became the first Waterloo netminder drafted since Jared Moe in 2018. Montreal used the a 6th round choice – 162nd overall – to procure future contract rights for the 18-year-old. The pick came in front of the hometown fans as Montreal hosts this year’s NHL Draft.
The only previous Waterloo player to be selected by the Canadiens was forward Brady Vail in 2012. Last season, forward Rem Pitlick became the first former Hawk to play in a regular season game for Montreal.
Croteau played in 20 of the Hawks’ final 24 regular season games, plus all six 2022 Clark Cup playoff contests. The Bonnyville, Alberta, native’s record was 16-16-3 over 35 total appearances in the scheduled campaign. His .899 save percentage ranked fifth in the United States Hockey League last season, while his 3.00 goals-against average tied for sixth. On January 22nd, he earned a shutout with 31 saves during a 4-0 win against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
In the playoffs, Croteau was 3-3. His goals-against mark and save percentage – 2.71 and .913 respectively – were each sharper than his regular season figures and helped the Hawks upset the Lincoln Stars during a best-of-three first round series.
As a rookie in 2020/21, Croteau was 7-6-0. He won his debut appearance on January 9, 2021 with 29 saves against the Sioux Falls Stampede. His efforts in 16 games that year led to recognition on the 2021 USHL All-Rookie Second Team.
Croteau’s 23 career regular season victories currently tie him with Darren Gastrock for 16th on the Black Hawks’ junior-era wins list. He is committed to Clarkson University.