With two Halifax Mooseheads projected to be taken among the top three picks at the 2013 Entry Draft, it only makes sense the first goaltender expected to be taken, Zachary Fucale, should come from that program as well.
Fucale was a rock in the back end of the rink for the Mooseheads, posting a 2.35 GAA and .909 save percentage over 55 regular season games and a 2.08 GAA with a .913 save percentage in 17 playoff games as part of the offensively stacked QMJHL. He backstopped the Mooseheads beyond their QMJHL title at the Memorial Cup and went 3-1, recording a 3.52 GAA and .909 save percentage, the second best and best marks at the tournament respectively en route to the tournament win. He also helped Canada win gold at the Ivan Hlinka tournament with a 2.00 GAA and .925 save percentage in four games.
As far as technically sound goalies go, you won’t find many better than Fucale at this level. He is very efficient in goal with quiet movements and good puck tracking. He is a very good “puck stopper” in that he lets the flow of the play develop and has a knack for allowing pucks to hit him rather than attacking them at the risk of playing out of control. He showed his composure in the biggest games Halifax and Canada played this season -- another good sign as he progresses towards the next level.
The primary question around Fucale is how far his athleticism extends. He is known as a goalie that can force a shooter to make a perfect shot, but it is unknown how he will fare when the competition can crash his crease more effectively. The best NHL goaltenders make their money by being able to not only stop the first shot, but the second and third in succession. To this point it is unclear if Fucale will be that calibre of goaltender or not.
With all of this in mind, Fucale is the clear number one goaltending choice in this draft amongst North Americans and Europeans. He is clearly very gifted and, what’s more, he has shown that talent on the biggest stages he has had to play on. Any team looking to bolster their goaltending would be hard pressed to not consider him in the early rounds.
Depending on how needs play out, expect Fucale to be a late first round or early second round selection.
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