Zach Fucale's season just got a little more pressure-packed. The 19-year-old netminder will play a key role in Canada's quest for world junior gold, but once that has wrapped up, he'll be joining a new team back in the Quebec League.
Fucale, a Montreal Canadiens prospect, has been traded from the Halifax Mooseheads to the Quebec Remparts, who are hosting the Memorial Cup. Along with Fucale, the Remparts get a solid defenseman in Matt Murphy and a fifth-round draft pick in 2015. Halifax gets back 19-year-old goalie Eric Brassard in the deal, plus a slew of draft picks: First- and third-round selections in 2016 and first- and second-round selections in 2018.
For the Remparts, this deal is huge. Quebec will be under big pressure as hosts of the Memorial Cup to go as far in the 'Q' playoffs as possible, even though the team has an automatic berth in the CHL finale that follows the regular post-season.
Fucale has won a QMJHL title and a Memorial Cup before when the Mooseheads went all the way in 2013 and gives the Remparts a more established presence in net. Along with Brassard, Quebec had been going with 2015 NHL draft prospect Callum Booth, who is one of the top goalies available this summer, but had won just four of his past 10 decisions.
The Remparts had already made a splash recently when they acquired talented left winger Vladimir Tkachev from Moncton, adding to an offense that already featured 2015 NHL draft prospect Dmytro Timashov (one of the league's leading scorers), Tampa Bay pick Adam Erne and Edmonton prospect Marc-Olivier Roy.
On the back end, Murphy joins an experienced corps that includes New York Rangers pick Ryan Graves, who won a QMJHL title last season with Val-d'Or.
Blockbuster trades can't guarantee a team post-season success, as Saskatoon found out a few years ago when they landed Brayden Schenn from Brandon for a mint, but this was a solid trade for Quebec, as the team didn't gut its future in the process. Fucale and Murphy get a chance to win a second Memorial Cup in their careers and Halifax can begin looking towards the future.