That opened the doors for him to earn a spot on the U.S. National Development Program for 2008, where he again started as a backup behind two goaltenders before earning the starting job down the stretch in international play, winning a gold medal at the Four Nations tournament.
At Merrimack, he earned his time before Andrew Braithwaite before starting the second half of the season.
After that stellar freshman campaign in 2009, Cannata was drafted by the Canucks in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Draft.
Schneider’s now gone, dealt to the New Jersey Devils for a first-round pick in June’s NHL Draft. With Eddie Lack healthy again, he’s likely headed to Vancouver to backup Luongo which will open the door for Cannata to get starting minutes in the AHL this season.
At the development camp, where his season begins, Cannata has quickly grown from the new face into one of the camp’s leaders. This past summer was his fourth spent at the camp.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” he said. “This is my fourth year so I got a good taste of what it’s like and what to expect. It’s good to see the guys get going with the fitness test and that starts the week off. I told them it doesn’t get any easier though, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.”
Cannata’s whole career has been a marathon, yet recently, he appears to be sprinting up the Canucks’ depth chart.