Throughout training camp, Cam Ward and Eddie Lack were competing on more than one front. Ward won the battle, earning the opening night start at Nashville on Thursday night, but Saturday afternoon the Carolina Hurricanes hinted that Lack may have won the war.
The Canes and Lack have agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension beginning in 2016 worth $5.5 million, $2.5 million of which will be due in the 2016-17 season. The raise nearly doubles the $1.3 million Lack will earn this season, and seems to indicate that the Canes are willing to stake their short-term goaltending position on the three-year NHL veteran who was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks for a third-round pick at June's NHL Draft.
With Lack now in the fold, all eyes now turn toward Ward, who is signed for a $6.3 million cap hit and $6.8 million in actual salary for this season. The for sale sign is now hung squarely in his locker room stall, and the Canes do have the option of retaining half of his salary in any potential trade. (The CBA limits retained-salary transactions to three players at any given time, and the Canes have one more year of retained salary for Tuomo Ruutu and Jay Harrison on the books.)
What has become evident with today's extension is that Ward is all but certain to not be re-signed to a new contract, and the clock is ticking on his thirteen years of service in the Canes' organizational family.
The release from the team is below.
‘CANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH LACK ON EXTENSIONNetminder was acquired from Vancouver in June
Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Eddie Lack on a two-year contract extension. The deal will pay Lack $2.5 million in 2016-17, and $3 million in 2017-18.
"Eddie has been a great addition to our locker room," said Francis. "We feel that we have a very solid tandem in net for this season and are excited that Eddie will remain a part of that picture beyond this year."
The Hurricanes acquired Lack from the Vancouver Canucks on June 27 in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a seventh-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft. The Norrtalje, Sweden, native was 1-0-0 with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in three games during Carolina’s exhibition schedule. Lack, 27, completed his second full NHL season in 2014-15, going 18-13-4, with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. He took over the Canucks’ starting job in February when Ryan Miller suffered a knee injury, and went 12-6-2 in 21 appearances from Feb. 24-April 9 to help Vancouver maintain its playoff position.
In two seasons with Vancouver, Lack (6’4", 187 lbs.) posted a 34-30-9 record, with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in 82 games. Prior to joining the Canucks, he played two seasons for Vancouver’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliates in Manitoba and Chicago. Lack signed as a free agent with the Canucks on April 6, 2010, after one season with Brynas IF in Sweden’s top division, Elitserien.