5:31 pm: According to Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic, Shephard has been ruled out of tonight’s game with an upper-body injury, necessitating the Fucale recall.
4:25 pm: The Washington Capitals announced late this afternoon that they’ve recalled goaltender Zachary Fucale from the Hershey
Bears, their AHL affiliate. Fucale will join the pairing of Charlie Lindgren and Hunter Shepard in net for Washington. Shepard had been recalled on an emergency basis in the wake of Darcy Kuemper’s injury and subsequent placement on IR back on December 3rd. No corresponding moves were announced.
Despite bringing Shepard up nearly two weeks ago, the Capitals haven’t played the netminder just yet, opting to have Lindgren shoulder the load. Lindgren, who Washington signed to a three-year deal this offseason to back up Kuemper, has had a solid start to the season, recording a .910 save-percentage and 2.76 goals-against average in 14 games, but has really stepped things up since Kuemper went down, posting five of his seven wins along with a .936 save-percentage, surrendering just 11 goals over the six games.
Shepard, 27, was off to a dominant start in the AHL with a .932 save-percentage and 1.83 goals-against in his first eight games, but along with Lindgren’s superb performance, Shepard simply has never played in the NHL and has spent the bulk of his professional career in the ECHL.
It’s unclear what Washington’s plan is with Fucale now that he’s been called up as well. Unlike Shepard, Fucale has struggled this season with Hershey, however he does have longer track record of professional hockey, dating back to 2015-16. At one point considered one of the more exciting goaltending prospects in the NHL, the former Montreal Canadiens draft pick has only recently made his NHL debut, getting into four games for the Capitals last season.