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Gary Croteau
Gary Croteau
Right Wing
Number: 11
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 205
Shoots:
Born: Jun 20, 1946
Birthplace: Sudbury, ON, Canada
Acquired: Traded to Detroit by Los Angeles with Dale Rolfe and Larry Johnston for Garry Monahan, Matt Ravlich and Brian Gibbons on February 20, 1970.
Gary Croteau began his trek to the NHL by playing three years of NCAA hockey with St. Lawrence University, starting in 1965 at the age of 19. Croteau was a dominant offensive force right from the start, scoring 20 goals and 31 points in just 24 games in his rookie season. He followed that up with 21 goals and 38 points in 27 games in his second season. Croteau's numbers continued to improve, and by his final year in 1967-68, he averaged better than a goal per game, scoring 21 times while collecting 40 points in only 19 games.

NHL scouts, who were not overly enthusiastic about the general level of U.S. college in those days, could not help but take notice of Croteau's exceptional offensive capabilities, and with the league having recently expanded from six to 12 teams, there was more opportunity for a wide-open style of play, and Croteau fit the bill. He was signed to a professional contract by the Los Angeles Kings in 1968. Most of that season was spent with the Springfield Kings of the AHL, but Croteau was inserted into the L.A. lineup for eleven games, where he scored five times, assisting on another.

In 1969-70, Croteau was dealt to the Detroit Red Wings, but he appeared in just ten games, picking up a pair of assists in limited ice-time duty. What does stick out in his mind is the final game of the season that year when the Wings faced the Rangers. New York and Montreal were battling for a playoff spot and goals for would come into play if the Canadiens lost their final game of the year. The Rangers won the game 9-5, but Detroit did score two empty-netters. Later that night the Montreal Canadiens, trailing 5-2 to Chicago midway through the final period, pulled goalie Rogie Vachon in an attempt to finish the season with more goals than the Rangers. The move backfired and Chicago scored five times into an empty net for a 10-2 win. Montreal missed the playoffs by two goals.

From 1970 until 1974, he got his first chance at playing full-time as a member of the lowly California Golden Seals. He was picked up by the expansion Kansas City Scouts for the 1974-75 season where he played for two seasons before the franchise moved to Denver, Colorado and were renamed the Rockies. It was in Denver that Croteau enjoyed his greatest individual success. In 1976-77, he had 24 goals and 27 assists for 51 points. Croteau remained with the Rockies until the 1979-80 season. He played one more year of pro hockey with the CHL's Fort Worth Texans before retiring at the age of 34.

Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89