Montreal Canadiens: From the first goalie selected to question marks

LAVAL, QC - OCTOBER 25: Goaltender Zachary Fucale
LAVAL, QC - OCTOBER 25: Goaltender Zachary Fucale /

Zachary Fucale has had an interesting time in the Montreal Canadiens organization which could come to an end depending on what the plan is for him.

The Michael Cammalleri trade was one of the memorable trades to occur within the last decade for the Montreal Canadiens. Although Rene Bourque and Patrick Holland didn’t pan out as well as many had hoped, the deal allowed the Habs to be the first time to select a goalie in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. That goaltender was Zachary Fucale who Montreal took from the Halifax Mooseheads 36th overall.

It was a solid draft choice for the Montreal Canadiens. Not only was Fucale the top-ranked goaltender in NHL’s Central Scouting that season, but he surpassed  Jean-Sébastien Giguère‘s record for wins with the Mooseheads with 79. The accolades didn’t stop for the 22-year-old after being drafted. After returning to junior, Fucale became the youngest goaltender to reach 100 wins in the QMJHL and represented Canada at the World Juniors twice in 2014 and 2015 winning gold in the latter year.

The future was the brightest it was ever going to be for Fucale and his debut season in the AHL for the St. Johns Ice Caps was a potential ‘first step’ to the NHL. However, that’s all it’s ever been for the Quebec native. Fucale has played a total of 63 AHL games and none so far with the Montreal Canadiens. He’s had his call-ups, but the closest thing Fucale has seen to NHL action is the bench.

It also doesn’t help that the Habs have brought in Charlie Lindgren and Michael McNiven over the past two years. Lindgren has surpassed Fucale already and has a true shot to backup Carey Price next season while McNiven worked his way out of the ECHL to becoming the 1B with the Laval Rocket.

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Now Fucale sits at the end of a disappointing season (team-wide) as a restricted free agent. As challenging as it’s been, there is a lot more for him to give. The constant travel and transition takes a toll on you, and even if Lindgren is up with the Montreal Canadiens, it leaves a stable spot for Fucale and Lindgren to take charge in Laval.

"I think I can play in the NHL, but I have to start with a first game. I’m confident I can get that chance soon (Translated quote from"

At the same time, the Habs may decide to move on from Fucale and give him a fresh start. Not necessarily because they don’t believe in him, but that there is a lot of value in a young goaltender. This isn’t to compare the two but look at what Matt Murray has done in his short time in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A team looking to shore up their goaltending pool could give Bergevin a call and ask to make a deal. The Philadelphia Flyers or even the Buffalo Sabres are two organizations who would benefit from having Fucale in their ranks.

Next: Operation Tyler Bozak and Paul Stastny

Something has to give at some point. Fucale sounds to be determined to make his NHL debut somewhere, whether it’s with the Montreal Canadiens or a different team is the mystery.