20 Prospects in 20 Days: Zachary Fucale

 

Source: Getty Images

With only 18 days left until the first round of the NHL Draft in New Jersey, The PensNation will be breaking down a prospect each day until June 30th. Today, we will take a closer look at goaltender Zachary Fucale.

Source: NHL.com

Goaltender Zachary Fucale, Halifax (QMJHL), 18 years old

Height: 6’1″, Weight:  181 pounds, Catches: Left

RANKED:

NHL Central Scouting: 1st among North American goaltenders
TSN: 7th among all players

2012-13 Stats: 55 games played, 45 wins, 2.35 goals-against average, .909 save percentage, 2 shutouts

 

Source: The Canadian Press

THE SCOOP: Every hockey fan knows the importance of goaltending in the NHL, especially in the postseason. For teams who need a good goaltender of the future, Zachary Fucale may be a player of interest in 2013. Fucale, 18, is the best goaltending prospect in this year’s draft class and will most likely be the first player taken at his position. He took over as the starting goaltender for the Halifax Mooseheads at age 16 after an injury to the previous starting goaltender. Sounds like a tough job for a young kid, right? Well, Fucale handled the workload pretty well to say the least as he led Halifax to the semifinals in the QMJHL. In his second season, he did not have anything close to a sophomore slump. His 45-5-2 record in the regular season and 16-1 record in the postseason led the Mooseheads to their first ever Memorial Cup. Clearly, Fucale is able to handle lots of pressure. One argument with Fucale that people make is that he played for an amazing team that featured Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin. Although he did play for a team with a ton of offensive firepower, Fucale’s play allowed the Mooseheads to play their offensive style. He is a very calm and athletic goaltender who can handle the pressure of big games. His butterfly style allows him to show off his quickness in the net as he is very fast going from post to post. His glove hand is also very good for his age. His durability and determination are two other great aspects of his game. David Burstyn had nothing but good things to say about Fucale: “Say what you want about Halifax, with them being a pretty offensively-explosive team, but this guy was a brick wall. He’s got good net coverage. The one thing about him is he’s so poised — he’s always in the right position, very economical in his movement. Very rarely do you find him out of position and he essentially forces shooters to take a perfect shot. You look at the goalies this year, I certainly think he’s the top. Even last year as an underager, he probably played more games than most veterans did. He’s used to pressure, he’s a very cool, calm and collected kid on the ice and off the ice. I just think that will be a good attribute for him moving forward.” It will be very interesting to see where Fucale is picked in the first round. One obvious team that will be interested is the Calgary Flames, who will need a goaltender soon since veteran Miikka Kiprusoff‘s career is slowly coming to an end. However, Calgary has a bigger need for a high impact offensive player since trading away Jarome Iginla. If Fucale falls to 22nd or 28th overall, he could end up being a Flame since Calgary owns three picks in the first round. The one team to watch here is the Philadelphia Flyers, who may end up buying out Ilya Bryzgalov this summer. After a season in which the Flyers did not make the postseason, Philadelphia owns the 11th overall pick in the draft and could take Fucale to make him their goaltender of the future. If Fucale can translate his play in the Memorial Cup Series to the NHL, he could develop into an elite franchise goaltender someday.

VIDEO:

Previously Seen in “20 Prospects in 20 Days”:

June 10, 2013: Bo Horvat
June 11, 2013: Aleksander Barkov

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