NHL Draft prospects: No. 27 Zachary Fucale

Fucale will be auditioning for a WJC invite. Photo: CP/Liam Richards

Intro: Sportsnet.ca is previewing the top 30 prospects in the 30 days leading up to the NHL draft in New Jersey on June 30.

The countdown’s lone goaltending prospect is highlighted next with the MasterCard Memorial Cup- winning goalie, Zachary Fucale.

Stats: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) | 55 GP | 45-5-2-1 | 2 SO | 2.35 G.A.A. | .909 %

Who is Zachary Fucale?
Fucale burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old rookie last season, playing in 58 of his team’s 68 games and leading the Mooseheads to the league semifinals. He didn’t disappoint with the hype surrounding his second season, improving his numbers while leading the Halifax Mooseheads to their first ever President’s Cup and MasterCard Memorial Cup championships. Fucale also led Canada to a gold medal at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, posting a shutout in the championship game. He’s been pegged Canada’s next great goaltending prospect and has done little to dissuade those proclamations through two seasons of major junior.

Zachary Fucale’s scouting report:
Fucale is a calm and composed young man whose temperament off the ice reflects it on the ice. He’s a big-game goalie who doesn’t panic and plays with the mental resolve and maturity that belies his age. Fucale is strong in his positioning and lets the play come to him. He’s displayed the ability to backstop a young, rising underdog while also maintaining his composure on a loaded team. His versatility and maturity will make him a hot commodity.

Teams who might be interested in Zachary Fucale:
The Calgary Flames were rumoured to be interested in a top goaltending prospect as compensation for Jarome Iginla in trade talks. While they didn’t acquire one, they did acquire two additional first-round picks. Now that Miikka Kiprusoff may have played his last game in a Flames uniform, addressing the goaltending situation is even more urgent now than it was before.

Scout’s take: “Say what you want about Halifax, with them being a pretty offensively-explosive team, but this guy was a brick wall,” says David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “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,” Burstyn continued. “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.”

“Fucale is a very poised and athletically-gifted goaltender who is also positionally aware and technically sound,” adds Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. “He moves very well in the net and squares himself to shooters well. I would like to see him be a little more consistent with his glove, which is strong, but he can tend to cheat off it at times and leave room over his shoulder.”

Rankings: Fucale was ranked first by the NHL’s Central Scouting (North American goaltenders), first by the International Scouting Services among goaltenders and 28th overall by McKeen’s Hockey.

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