Peter Delmas spent his QMJHL draft day huddled around a computer in his Bedford living room, listening to an online French broadcast of the event with his father.
He was a 6-foot, 157-pound goalie coming off a tough midget season behind a porous Halifax McDonald’s defence corps, and at age 16, certainly wasn’t banking on being drafted.
But with eight picks left and his hopes starting to fade, the Lewiston Maineiacs finally grabbed him.
“I heard my name, and my dad was like, ‘Well, guess you’re going to the States to play hockey,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess so!’” Delmas recalled. “I didn’t really expect it but I was really hoping I’d get picked. It was a big relief.”
Two seasons later, an 18-year-old Delmas is two inches taller, 15 pounds heavier, and he certainly won’t be listening to a French broadcast of his next draft on the Internet.
Delmas, who has rapidly developed into a top-end goalie in two seasons in Lewiston, is headed to Scotiabank Place in Ottawa for the NHL entry draft on Saturday and Sunday.
“This draft, I’m going to go, I’m going to see what it’s like, and it’s going to be a lot more exciting,” Delmas said. “It’s the NHL, not the Q. It’s more intense. You get paid to play hockey there … I don’t even think it’s comparable.”
Delmas’ career highlights include cracking the Q’s all-rookie team and winning a President’s Cup in 2006-07, and earning a spot on Canada’s under-18 team last summer.
He had a 2.84 goals-against average, a .903 save percentage in 34 starts last season, ranking him in the Q’s top five goaltenders. He has come a long way since his days with the Macs.
“I matured so much … I don’t even remember how much faster I am now and how much smarter I am, and how much easier it is for me to save the puck,” Delmas said. “It’s just remarkable.
Nicknamed “Sneaky Pete” from his days in the Bedford Blues minor hockey system, Delmas patterns his game after popular Vancouver Canucks star Roberto Luongo.
Central Scouting ranks Delmas as the third best North American goaltender available, describing him as a “laid back and confident goalie” who makes “big saves” at key times.
Delmas, whose family relocated to the Toronto area last year, is hoping to have a “really dominating year” next season, as he will finally be the Maineiacs’ No. 1 goaltender after two seasons behind perennial all-star Jonathan Bernier.
Getting drafted will give him a big boost heading into the fall.
“I’ve had a lot of interviews and I feel I had a solid season — definitely worthy of getting drafted,” he said. “I’m pretty confident it’s going to happen. The higher the better.”