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The Legend Of Eddie Lack

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Carolina's new goalie was a fan favorite in Vancouver

New Carolina goalie Eddie Lack
New Carolina goalie Eddie Lack
Rich Lam/Getty Images

Before the Hurricanes brass had even reached the draft floor on Saturday morning, they were wheeling and dealing on the trade front.   When the dust settled, Anton Khudobin had been dealt to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for James Wisniewski and Eddie Lack was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks for two draft picks.

Fans in Vancouver were not very happy to see Lack traded but the Canucks had three goalies and team officials needed to make a move.

With Ryan Miller signed to a big contract, he wasn't going anywhere and Jacob Markstrom had not played enough to warrant much value on the trade front, so Lack was the odd man out.

Some fans had anticipated this and created a movement to save the Swedish goalie.  This change.org petition had over 1,700 signatures, but it wasn't enough to sway Vancouver management to alter their way of thinking.

After the trade was announced there was a lot of negative reaction from Vancouver folk on the Twitter, so I decided to email our friends over at Nucks Misconduct, to see what the hoopla was all about.

I asked them point blank, why is Eddie Lack so popular?

Mike, otherwise known as "Yankee Canuck", was kind enough to answer that question.

From the outside he was just  friendly and funny, you can see from his Twitter account (hell even his mom's account!) he has a great sense of humor. He would chat with fans and bloggers on it, so he "felt" approachable. But mostly he was a stable presence in our extremely unstable goaltender merry go round. He outplayed Luongo before he was dealt and put up better numbers as a back up when Miller was injured last season. Management was never sold on him (hence the Miller deal to start with) but he always put the team first and stole us a lot of games. Fans naturally fell in love with him since its been a rough couple years as a Vancouver fan.

It sounds simple enough.  If you play well, win some games, and are friendly to fans, you can become popular, very quickly.  Mike went on:

You guys are lucky, he's a great addition. I hope he continues to improve and gets a chance to be a starter for you.

If you check out Lack's stats, he's only been in the NHL for two years but his results have been pretty good.

In 2013-14 he had a 16-17-5 record with a .912 save percentage and 2.41 GAA.

In 2014-15 he had a 18-13-4 record with a .921 save percentage and 2.45 GAA.

In those two seasons he posted six shutouts.

For comparison sake, Lack's new competition in goal, Cam Ward, had a 10-12-6 record in 2013-14 with a .898 save percentage and was 22-24-5 last season with a .910 SV%.  Ward had one shutout in the past two years.

Will Brown, another author over at "Nucks Misconduct" wrote an autopsy for Lack, so to speak, and this is an excerpt:

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.

lack miller

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.

As Will points out, the chart above represents a comparison of 5-on-5 save percentages between the top playing goalies of the league.

Could there be another goalie controversy coming next season?

Apparently, Lack loves tacos and he is certainly not shy on Twitter.  You can follow him here:

Eddie Lack Twitter

The new goalie was interviewed on The Buzz Radio this morning.  You can listen at the following link.

Eddie Lack - The Buzz