2006-07: Playing for Boston College High School, Joe Cannata played in 18 games, going 16-1-1 with a goals against average of 1.01 and a save percentage of .968%. He was named as the Boston College Most Valuable Player, and was named to the Boston Globe Catholic Conference All-Star roster, the Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic Team, and the Boston Herald Dream Team.
2007-08: Cannata joined the US NTDP and appeared in 31 games, compiling a 16-14-3 record with a goals against average of 2.56 and a save percentage of .899%. Cannata played in two of the four games at the 2008 U-18 Five Nations tournament, a tournament won by Team USA. Cannata went 2-0 with a 2.67 goals against average there. According to NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, Cannata is the 13th overall ranked North American goalie according to NHL Central Scouting.
2008-09: Cannata was named Merrimack’s Defensive Player of the Year after appearing in 23 games and posting a 7-11-4 record that included two shutouts. Despite a sub-.500 record, Cannata posted outstanding numbers in goals against average (2.35) and save percentage (.918), both of which ranked in the top 25 nationally.
2009-10: Cannata appeared in 24 of 37 games for Merrimack as a sophomore as the Warriors finished sixth in Hockey East and took defending national champion Boston College to a deciding third game in the league quarterfinals. Cannata finished 10-13-1 with 2 shutouts and a 3.04 GAA and .902 save percentage.
2010-11: Cannata appeared in 39 games for Merrimack as a junior as the Warriors finished fourth in Hockey East and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history after advancing to the Hockey East Final. Cannata finished 25-10-4 with 1 shutout and had a 2.48 GAA and .911 save percentage. He stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Warriors' win over New Hampshire in the Hockey East semifinals. In Merrimack's 4-3 overtime loss to Frozen Four-bound Notre Dame in the NCAA Northeast Regional Cannata made 34 saves.
2011-12: Joe Cannata made his pro hockey debut – stopping 38 of 40 shots for the Chicago Wolves in a 4-2 win over Peoria in April in his only appearance – after concluding his four-year collegiate career at Merrimack. Cannata was a workhorse for the Warriors in his fourth season; appearing in 36 of 37 games. He was 17-12-7 with 2 shutouts and had career best marks in goals against (2.18) and save percentage (.925). Merrimack did not receive an NCAA tournament bid but did finished with back-to-back winning records for the first time in school history. Cannata signed a two-year entry-level contract with Vancouver in March of 2012.
2012-13: Cannata joined the Canucks late in the year as an emergency back-up to Roberto Luongo but did not appear in any games when Cory Schneider was injured. He appeared in 14 AHL games with the Canucks' AHL affiliate in Chicago in his first pro season as a backup to minor league veteran Matt Climie and fellow Vancouver prospect Eddie Lack. Cannata was 6-6 with the Wolves and had a 2.65 goals against and .912 save percentage. Chicago was fourth in the Midwest Division and missed the AHL playoffs. Cannata played seven games for the ECHL's Kalamazoo Wings and was 3-4 with a 3.29 goals against and .905 save percentage.
Cannata is a goaltender that plays with loads of confidence and is tremendously calm and focused under pressure. He isn’t one to get rattled easily. Cannata possesses good athleticism and is technically very sound. He is intelligent and follows plays quite well. Cannata also possesses very good hand-eye coordination for a goaltender. He does a good job of playing his angles well and staying square to shooters, but could be a bit more aggressive in challenging them.
With a solid first year of pro hockey under him, Cannata will do his utmost to win over Utica Comets coaching staff for the starting goaltender position. With one of Eddie Lack or Joacim Eriksson likely to back-up Roberto Luongo, Cannata will likely assume the back-up role for the Comets, though some time in Kalamazoo may be necessary.