As the Vancouver Canucks work their way through their slew of preseason games, goaltender Eddie Lack will garner a lot of attention from the team. Lack has been an amazing find for the Canucks and the young Swedish goalie may end up being the most vital piece to Vancouver’s puzzle.
The Canucks suddenly are loaded with quality goaltending, as Lack is third behind Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider.
It is a forgone conclusion that, at some point, the Canucks will move Cory Schneider. The only question is whether that trade will happen before the trade deadline this year or during the next offseason.
With Lack waiting in the wings, the Canucks can feel confident that they have Luongo’s backup ready to go.
Lack signed as a free agent with Vancouver prior to last season and spent the year in Manitoba. It was his first season playing hockey in North America and he handled the transition as well as the Canucks could have hoped.
He became the No. 1 goaltender for the Moose last season and ended up starting 53 games, winning 28 and posting an incredible 2.26 goals against average and a .926 save percentage.
Not bad for a guy who was 22 at the time.
Those numbers are pretty comparable to the impressive numbers that Schneider put up with Manitoba. Lack is showing that he, too, is ready to take on the NHL skaters.
At 6’5” tall, Lack is a big goalie who is still very fluid, can cover the bottom part of the net and shows incredible poise and calmness amid the chaos in front of him. There is no panic in Lack, something that bodes well for his NHL future.
Lack will end up in the AHL with Chicago to start this season and if he continues to play the way he did last year, the Canucks can look at possible in-season trades for Schneider and feel confident that they won’t miss a beat.
A deadline deal could bring in a second-line scoring winger to play with Ryan Kesler, which is something Vancouver desperately needs this season. With Lack ready to go, that deal could happen sooner than later.
If Lack struggles this year, general manager Mike Gillis might be less willing to lose Schneider this year. Last year, the team thrived while having Schneider take more of a role, which allowed Luongo to start fewer regular season games.
That system resulted in the Canucks having the best goals against in the league and propelled them to within one game of the Stanley Cup.
Lack looks ready to play the same role Schneider did.
Lack got his first taste of preseason action Tuesday night in Vancouver against Calgary, stopping all 12 shots he faced in his 30 minutes as the Canucks won, 4-3.
It doesn't look like he's going to miss a beat again this season.
So watch Eddie Lack closely this preseason as you may be getting a glimpse of the key piece to trading Cory Schneider, a trade that will have a lot to say about where the Canucks end up when the smoke clears this spring.