Montreal Canadiens: Zach Fucale Finding Success at AHL Level

LAVAL, QC - FEBRUARY 14: Zachary Fucale (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
LAVAL, QC - FEBRUARY 14: Zachary Fucale (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens former “goaltender of the future” Zach Fucale didn’t quite work out with the Habs.

The second round pick from the 2013 NHL Draft looked like a future franchise goalie when he was a teenager, but he struggled to adjust quickly to the pro level.

Taken with the 36th overall selection in his draft, Fucale was the first goaltender off the board and had a strong pedigree from his time with the Halifax Mooseheads. He rarely lost a game that season, and was strong in the postseason, helping the Mooseheads win a QMJHL title. Fucale would backstop the team to a Memorial Cup championship as well, shortly before even turning 18 years old.

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Fucale was well decorated before turning pro, winning an Ivan Hlinka Tournament gold medal in 2013. He posted tremendous stats in winning a gold medal for Canada at the World Juniors in 2015, leading the tournament in goals against average and save percentage. He would lead the Quebec Remparts to another QMJHL final in 2015, piling up an incredible 49 career QMJHL postseason victories.

However, the wins didn’t come as easily once Fucale turned pro in the Canadiens organization. He had a 3.13 GAA and a .903 SV% with the St. John’s Ice Caps in 2015-16. His second pro season saw him play most of the year in the ECHL with the Brampton Beast. He had a 3.17 GAA and a .898 SV% in the third best pro league in North America.

His third pro season saw him split time between the AHL and ECHL and post decent numbers at the ECHL numbers while struggling in the AHL.

The Canadiens chose to let him become a free agent after his three year entry-level contract ended, electing to leave room for Charlie Lindgren and Michael McNiven instead.

Fucale signed with the Vegas Golden Knights, but spent most of the 2018-19 season in the ECHL as well. He then spent last season on a minor league only contract and played most of the year in the ECHL once again, but his numbers were terrific. He had a 2.36 GAA and a .928 SV%.

This season, the Washington Capitals signed Fucale to a one year two-way deal, and he’s been spectacular.

In six starts with the Hersehy Bears, Fucale has a 1.49 GAA and a .942 SV%. He also played one ECHL game this season, allowing only one goal.

The Capitals have seen enough from him and just signed him to a two-year, two-way NHL-AHL contract for the next two seasons.

It seems like its already been a long journey for Fucale. However, he is still just 25 years old. Some goaltender take a little longer to find their footing at the pro level, and there is still plenty of time for Fucale to figure things out. Now that he is with an organization that believes in him and has him signed for three total years, it will be interesting to see where his trajectory goes from here.

It wasn’t long ago a 25 year old Jordan Binnington came out of nowhere and made a huge game for himself at the NHL level. He just signed a lucrative long-term deal with the St. Louis Blues.

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Could Fucale follow Binnington’s footsteps? He has a long way to go, but the former Canadiens prospect is starting to fulfill some of the huge potential he showed in the Habs organization.