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Edit: Drafted 36th overall by the Montreal Canadiens.
Its rare to see a 16 year old goalie become a full-time starter in the CHL, but that is exactly what happened for Montreal native and Halifax Moosehead Zach Fucale last season. An injury to Anthony Terenzio forced Fucale into the net, and he shone for the Mooseheads, and has been the team’s number 1 goalie ever since. He even led the squad to a shocking 7 game victory over the Quebec Remparts, in what had to be the upset of the year in the 2012 QMJHL playoffs.
This year, some may criticize Fucale and say, sure he looks great, but he plays behind the best team in the league, and fellow first round rated mega-prospects in Jonathan Drouin, and Nathan MacKinnon. However it is Fucale’s skill at the backend that allows the Mooseheads to play their all out offensive style, as he is always there to make the save when a breakdown occurs. He really is the backbone for Halifax and we rate him as the best goaltender available in the draft. As for playing on a stacked team, you only need to look at what Fucale accomplished behind a young team in 2011-12 to see that this criticism really has no merit.
Zach and the Mooseheads are now in the QMJHL final, and are 13-0 in the playoffs. Last night in game 1 of the QMJHL final, Fucale picked up another shutout, his 3rd of the playoffs. Fucale hasn’t even turned 18 yet, and has 2 years of QMJHL eligibility remaining (plus a 3rd potential overage year, which he’s highly unlikely to use) and already he is breaking the career records of Jean Sebastian Giguere in the Halifax net. It goes to show how quickly Fucale has become a star in his own right, in the QMJHL.
Born May 28 1995 — Rosemere, PQ
Height 6.01 — Weight 180 — Shoots Left — Glove Left
Fucale is an athletic, butterfly style goaltender with decent size at 6’01. He is very quick in the net, especially with his legs as he does an excellent job taking away the bottom of the net. Fucale has an excellent glove hand, and flashes the leather regularly to take away the top half of the net. His rebound control is remarkable for a 17 year old draft eligible prospect. This is usually an area that many young goalies need to work on, but Fucale is already approaching the status of a master. He directs pucks into the corners or smothers them, taking away second chance opportunities. Fucale’s lateral movement in the crease is superb. He is able to get from post to post very quickly and square himself up to the puck. He covers a lot of ground, but is economical in his movements, rarely going too far or getting himself out of position. Overall, his technique is extremely refined for a 17 year old.
Fucale has been a thoroughbred for Halifax, playing a huge number of games the last two seasons, and rarely taking breaks from the net. He hasn’t seemed to wear down at all either, and his durability is definitely a strong attribute. Like any young goalie, or any goalie for that matter, Fucale is not perfect, and does have the occasional bad game. His consistency can be improved, but the one thing he does really well is bounce back from bad goals or bad games. His temperament in the net is outstanding and he remains calm and cool at key times.
Fucale’s style is reminiscent of a cross between Cam Ward and Carey Price. He has the potential to develop into an elite #1 goaltender if he continues down his current path.
Check back tomorrow for our number 24 prospect.
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Photo Credit: HalifaxMooseheads.com