The Vancouver Canucks are battling for one of the playoff spots in the Western Conference. In the hyper-competitive Pacific Division, the Canucks currently occupy the number two spot. When starting goaltender Ryan Miller went down injured in late February, the Canucks fan base had to put their hopes in the catching glove of netminder Eddie Lack. And the outgoing and almost always smiling Swede has made sure that the Canucks still are in the thick of it.
Lack might be one of the most entertaining players off the ice in the league. He’s very active on social media and always seems to look at the bright side of life. If you aren’t already following him on Twitter, pause right here and follow him now, because you are missing out on some social media gold.
— Eddie Lack (@eddielack) March 2, 2015
Looking at his performance on the ice this season, he has been solid for Vancouver in a time of need. Miller is the clear number one and Lack is used to being the backup and will still be ready when given the chance. He had a good relationship/bromance with Roberto Luongo, and he seems to have developed a good relationship with Miller as well.
With a GAA of 2.43 and .920 in save percentage, his numbers are slightly better than Miller’s, but he only has 11 wins in 23 starts, compared to Miller’s 28 wins in 44 starts.
Miller suffered a lower-body injury against the New York Islanders on Feb. 22 and since then the team has relied heavily on Lack. The Canucks have won five out of the nine games that Miller has missed, and are one point ahead of the Calgary Flames and has a game in hand on their Canadian neighbors. They are also three points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.
Lack showed great promise when he played in Sweden for Leksands IF and Brynas IF. Despite the good numbers, he went undrafted in the 2009, and signed with the Canucks in 2010. After a couple of good seasons in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose and Chicago Wolves in 2010-11 and 2011-12 he had to sit out a major part of the following season with a hip injury.
During his rookie season last year he appeared in 41 games and had a record of 16-17-5 with a 2.41 GAA and a .912 save percentage. He’s a tall and athletic goaltender, and his frame has earned him the nickname “The Stork.” Before the Canucks brought in Miller, Lack was supposed to share the goaltending duty with fellow Swede Jacob Markstrom, but after the Canucks signed Miller in free agency, Lack was once again the backup.
You can understand that the Canucks wanted at least one experienced goalie in the system and when Miller became available they signed him to a three-year deal worth $18 million. Lack turned 27 this year and has one more season left on his deal with Vancouver. He seems to be ready for greater things and has been playing well lately when given the opportunity. Often he has shown his athleticism as the Canucks defense has left him high and dry. He played a massive game against the Arizona Coyotes earlier this month when he saved them on a number of occasions, especially in overtime.
It’s easy to like Lack because of what type of person he seems to be, but you can’t forget that behind the big smile, there’s a fierce competitor that is stepping up to the plate now that Miller is gone. Without an exact timetable for Miller’s return, it’s most likely that Lack will see out the rest of the regular season as the starter and then come playoff the Canucks will go back to Miller if they make in and Miller is back healthy of course.
But for now, the Stork is doing his part in helping the Canucks to reach the playoffs. And instead of bringing delivering a baby, he might deliver some playoff hockey to the fans in Vancouver.