Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Zachary Fucale Autographed Card

Who knows best how to build a team, a GM who takes over a team two years removed from a Conference Final and manages to miss the playoffs three times in five years and mortgages 15% of his salary cap on a goalie three years removed from his lone good season, or a GM who builds a Stanley Cup Finalist out of rejects from the other 30 teams in his first year on the job?

GM #2 in this story, the Vegas Golden Knights' George McPhee, just signed former second-round pick, 23-year-old Zachary Fucale, to a one-year, two-way deal, banking on his youth, his pedigree as a three-time Team Canada gold medalist and the fact that despite posting a career-low in save percentage with the AHL's Laval Rocket last year, was the team's best goalie - both from an eye test and statistically. It was just an awful, awful team that was terribly outcoached every single game.

GM #1 truly believes Carey Price is the only player he needs to have that is an NHL-level talent (although, considering last season, even that last bit of sentence is up for debate).

We'll see who's right in due time, but I'd like to say to those who think Fucale is overrated that at the same stage of his career, Price had been supplanted at the Montréal Canadiens' #1 goalie by Jaroslav Halak for three years straight despite the job being Price's every training camp, and Price finished with pedestrian numbers every year:
From HockeyReference
And, of course, it was much worse come playoff time:
Fucale, despite playing on the worst AHL team of the past decade, displayed some fine control when facing NHL-level talent:

So, yeah, I still believe Fucale can develop into a fine NHL backup before the age of 25 and a starter before he reaches 28, following the career trajectories of Carter Hutton, Cam Talbot, Antti Raanta, Scott Darling (well, he might not be the best example) and Craig Anderson.

Here he is sporting the Halifax Mooseheads' beautiful white uniform, on card #244 from In The Game's 2012-13 Heroes And Prospects set and CHL Rookie sub-set:
He signed it for me in blue sharpie last season, when the Habs called him up without playing him a single second.

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