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Canucks Player Autopsy: Eddie Lack

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A review of the taco-guzzling Swede in net for the Vancouver Canucks and what his future might hold.

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Who is he?

Posistion: G

Catches: Left

Size: 6'4", 187

Born: 01/05/88

What did he do?

For the better part of the year, Lack served as the Canucks' backup goaltender, playing second fiddle to Ryan Miller, who was brought in as a UFA in the previous summer. And as the year went on, Canucks fans were treated to yet another goalie controversy.

Miller and Lack were seemingly neck and neck in terms of quality, with Lack riding a slightly higher save percentage, so members of the Canucks media were quick to point out that Miller's 18 million dollar contract was something of a redundancy. Regardless, Willie Desjardins stuck with the veteran goaltender for the majority of the starts until he went down with injury in a February game against the Islanders.

From there, Lack was handed the reigns as the starting goalie and his terrific run of form helped the Canucks secure the second seed in the Pacific Division. Lack finished the year with a save percentage of .921 and a goals against average of 2.45.

Was he any good?

For the most part, Lack was Vancouver's best goaltender. His save percentage, the best indicator of a goalie's ability, was higher in total, and when he was given consistent starting minutes after Miller's injury, he was one of the main reasons the Canucks were able to hold on to a playoff spot.

The above graph, courtesy of war-on-ice.com, shows Miller and Lack's 5v5 sv% compared to the league's other starters (goalies who have played over 1800 minutes of action). Ryan Miller sits near the bottom with Mike Smith and Cam Ward (both of whom played behind much worse teams than Miller) while Lack is in the middle of the pack, with his comparables being Jonathan Quick and Ben Bishop.

It also can't go without mention that Lack is a fan favourite among Canucks' fans. His sense of humour and social media interactions ensure favourtism from his fans, and while hockey decisions should never be based off a popularity contest, it is safe to say a lot of Canucks fans will be angry if Lack is traded.

What didn't we like?

While Lack was a large part of why the Canucks made the playoffs, he is also undoubtedly a reason why the exited the post-season in the first round. Poor performances from Lack in games three and four helped put the team in a 3-1 hole and forced the coaching staff to call upon Ryan Miller, who was clearly unready.

In his four playoff games, his save percentage was an abysmal .886. Granted this is a very small sample and it gives us no indication of how he will perform in next year's playoffs, but it is not nearly good enough to win a playoff series.

So what now?

The Canucks have no choice but to move one of their goaltenders (Ryan Miller, Eddie Lack or Jacob Markstrom) before next season arrives, and as Jim Benning is looking to recover draft picks, it appears the trade will come before next Friday's draft. Benning has already said he is not going to trade Miller, so one of Lack or Markstrom will be the odd man out. Lack obviously carries greater value and Markstrom, who had a terrific season in Utica, looks ready to be a full time NHLer, so moving the fan-favourite is the most likely conclusion. All the signs are pointing to the end of Eddie Lack's time in Vancouver and, if Benning can get a late first/early second round pick for the Swede, it would be the best case scenario.