|Zachary Fucale could be a New York Islander.|
The off-season is upon us, but the real fun begins at the end of June. On June 30th, the NHL Entry Draft will be a full-day event. All picks will be made that day.
Our New York Islanders will be picking 15th in the NHL Entry Draft, ending a record of five-straight lottery picks that spanned from 2008 to 2012. Coincidently, the Isles picked a great year to finish better than a lottery team. The 2013 NHL Entry Draft is a very deep one, and at pick #15, the Islanders will still have plenty of top-talent to choose from.
I'm excited. The Islanders will be adding another building block to a rich pipeline of prospects. The only question is who, which is why I'm bringing back my "Potential Isles' Draft Choices" column, where we take a deeper look at some of the prospects that may fall to the New York Islanders.
Last season, the Islanders needed defense. Griffin Reinhart was the first player I covered in this column, and he happened to be the guy the Isles selected with the 4th-overall draft pick.
This year, a lot of us are concerned with goaltending. Evgeni Nabokov is aging. Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson still have a lot of growing to do, and if they don't pan out, the Isles may not have a further plan from within. Well, there's a possibility that may be solved at the Prudential Center at the end of June. Today, Islanders Op-Timism is going to delve into Zachary Fucale - starting goaltender for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.
Zachary Fucale, G
Height: 6'1, Weight: 176 Pounds
Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL
A lot of the hype for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has been invested into Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, and Jonathan Drouin. The latter two are teammates of Fucale's, overshadowing the success that the 17-year old netminder has been having during the 2012-13 campaign.
Zachary Fucale started 55 games for Halifax this season. Out of those 55 games, Fucale won an eye-opening 45 of them while posting a final record of 45-5-3. During the regular season, Fucale posted the 4th-highest save percentage in the QMJHL (.909%) and the 2nd-best goals-against-average (2.35 GAA); and if those numbers concern you, glance over at Fucale's 2013 playoff statistics. Zachary went 16-1-0, and improved on his save percentage (.918%) and goals-against-average (2.02 GAA) during the postseason. Ultimately, Fucale backstopped Halifax to a championship, winning the QMJHL's President's Cup on May 10th.
According to Al Jensen, of NHL Central Scouting:
"He's not a flashy goalie, so if you're looking for someone like that, you need to look elsewhere. He reads the play, is smart and backs that up with quickness. When he moves laterally, he's always in position."
Players don't need a lot of empty space to find the back of the net. Because of this, positioning and net coverage is key in the NHL. If Zach has that going for him, he's always going to give himself a chance to stop the puck.
Why might the New York Islanders look at selecting the top-ranked goalie, according to Central Scouting?
For one, Fucale would be the Islanders' clear goaltender of the future. Talks of Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson have quieted over the past season, and there is little-to-nothing in place for the long-term if both goalies don't pan out. The Islanders have plenty of young forwards and young defensemen in their prospect pool, but there is no goaltending gem floating in that same pool. As Al Jensen told NHL.com, "When I first saw Zach play, he had NHL written all over him; there's not a doubt in my mind," and that may be hard for the Islanders to pass up if Zach drops to #15.
In conclusion, Fucale looks promising. He's the top-ranked goalie in the NHL Draft for a reason. Some mock drafts have him going in the top-ten on June 29th. Others have him selected towards the end of the first round. If he drops to 15th, the Isles will have to take a long, hard look at Fucale. They could be looking at the answer in the crease for the next 20 years.
Thanks for reading! Watch some highlights of Fucale in the above video.
I'm Chris Triants, and this is my blog.
Let's go Islanders!