Watching the World Juniors Championships during these past two weeks, I can’t stop to wonder about what future Team Canada’s starting goalie Zach Fucale might have in the NHL. Drafted in the 2nd round, 36th overall in last year’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, Fucale started the 2013-14 Under-19 tournament as a backup to Jake Paterson. But after two games, Fucale has started in every game and is headed to the medal games this weekend with Team Canada looking for Gold.
Looking back at the past 10 years of World Junior Championships, the biggest goalie names to come out of Team Canada have been the Pittsburgh Penguins Marc-Andre Fleury (2004), the Canadiens’ Carey Price (2007) and Toronto Maple Leaf’s Jonathan Bernier (2008). All three have already had distinguished careers in the NHL. Fleury has won a Stanley Cup in 2009 and has over 270 wins already in his career. Price has been the Habs #1 goalie for 4+ seasons already has 160+ wins. And this season Bernier is now solidifying himself as a #1 starter in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Being part of Team Canada doesn’t guarantee success. Since 2008, the jury is still out on which goalie will have a bright future in the NHL. Back in 2010 Martin Jones shared Team Canada’s goaltending duties with Blues’ prospect Jake Allen, and this season Jones started his NHL career winning his first 8 starts with the LA Kings. He’s since lost 3 games but might just be the next big goalie name since Price/Bernier.
Other names to look for in the coming years are Bruins prospect Malcom Subban (Team Canada, 2013), and perhaps Habs very own Zack Fucale. But let’s give Fucale five more years before we measure his true potential.
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