Is Eddie Lack the answer?

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Since Roberto Luongo’s departure from Vancouver, Eddie Lack has played (almost) every minute of every game between the pipes for the Canucks. We all know the story, the Canucks lose nearly
Eddie Lack @ The Heritage Classic.

every one of their last twenty games and miss the playoffs with Lack between the pipes. I don’t believe Lack is to blame for the Canucks’ struggles, but it can’t be ignored that Eddie Lack has failed since his veteran counterpart left him.

March 2nd was the pivotal day in Lack’s career, when he was given the start over Roberto Luongo in the 2014 Heritage Classic. At the time, Lack sported a clean 2.05 goals against average and .925 save percentage, up with the elite goalies in the NHL, as a backup, however. Lack would wind up losing the Heritage Classic by a score of 4-2, looking very shaky and overwhelmed in the decision. Ever since that game, it’s been nowhere but downhill for the Vancouver goaltender.

Lack hasn’t performed up to snuff on a consistent basis since Luongo’s departure, and it’s hurt the Canucks’ playoff hopes in a large way. Of course, the Canucks aren’t in the running anymore

Since the Luongo deal, Lack has been… Average.

regardless, but some stellar netminding could’ve possibly stole them a game or two which would’ve been key down the road. Lack now sports a 2.43 goals against average and a .911 save percentage after the Luongo deal, average to say the least. The turning point of the Canucks’ season (in my opinion, anyways) was the Heritage Classic. If the Canucks manage to win that game at that point in the season, maybe the Canucks turn the ship around and manage to steal a wild card spot into the playoffs. However, you know how the song really goes; the Canucks flunk the final stretch of the season with a horrid 2014, capped off by a 7-goal third period collapse against the Islanders. It was a season to forget for the Canucks, and any way you measure it, Lack was a key part of it.

Looking at it on the bright side, Lack is still a relatively young goaltender at the age of 26, and there is a lot of time for Lack’s game to improve and evolve. Lack came back really strong after a potentially career threatening hip surgery that could’ve seen Lack’s skills spiral into the ground like a defected paper airplane. However, Lack did bounce back from the injury very well, and showed a lot of promise this season, even if he couldn’t lead the Canucks to the playoffs. You’re never going to get the benefit of the doubt being a goaltender in a hockey market like Vancouver, but Lack does deserve some credit.

But the largest question in Vancouver right now is this: Is Eddie Lack “the answer”? Now, that is a vague question that could be answered in many ways, but I’ll take a stab at it. In my opinion, Eddie

Eddie Lack’s dance.

Lack isn’t the long term solution to a stanley cup winning team. However, Lack still has a lot of room for improvement, and he’s only 26, so there’s still a chance he can become one of the NHL’s top goalies down the road. For me, Lack doesn’t seem like the kind of goaltender that “carries a team on his back” like Luongo did for us so often. I’m not counting out the possibility of Lack winning a stanley cup in Vancouver, but given the team’s history with playoff meltdown and “almost” runs, I doubt it. Eddie Lack won’t be the next Roberto Luongo, if that’s what you’re looking for, but he should be a solid #1 NHL goalie down the road, much like a Corey Crawford or Jonas Hiller. He won’t be stealing us many games, but if you put a good team around him, he’ll get the job done.

I wouldn’t count on Eddie Lack being our “saviour”, but it’s not like he’s a dud. I have full confidence in Lack that he can become a solid NHL goaltender, I just don’t see him being the backbone of our team. Put the right team around Lack, and the Canucks can still be contenders to win it all. Just don’t count on Lack putting the team on his shoulders.

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