Eddie Lack: 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report card

Eddie Lack: 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report card

As I said yesterday in Cam Ward’s report card, I honestly did not do it intentionally, but perhaps the hockey gods had a hand in dropping the last two 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report cards, featuring the Hurricanes goalies, right into the front end of a holiday weekend where many will miss them. For anyone catching up, a menu of previous player (and also coaching and GM) report cards can be found at the bottom of the article.   Eddie Lack’s starting point for the 2016-17 season Eddie Lack arrived via a series of NHL draft day moves during the summer of 2015. In a combination of deals, General Manager Ron Francis sent previous backup Anton Khudobin to Anaheim for James Wisniewski and almost simultaneously traded a third and a seventh round draft pick to Vancouver for Eddie Lack. Lack had stepped in for Ryan Miller during the second half of the 2014-15 season and led the Canucks to the playoffs. Before Lack had even stepped onto the ice at PNC Arena, Francis inked Lack to a two-year extension, more or less committing to three years. Lack started slowly. In his first 9 games (7 starts and 2 relief appearances) stretching into early December, Lack was 1-5-1 with a save percentage of .863 and a goals against average in the neighborhood of 3.50. Lack rebounded in December and played better into the winter, but in total his .901 save percentage and relatively low hit ratio for putting up quality starts that gave his team a chance were not good enough for a backup role, let alone for rising up and...
Carolina Hurricanes players with most upside from my 2016-17 projections

Carolina Hurricanes players with most upside from my 2016-17 projections

Carolina Hurricanes players facing bigger challenges in 2016-17 The Carolina Hurricanes 2016-17 season will be fascinating from the perspective of seeing players take on new challenges and watching how they perform. At least 1 rookie: Very likely, at least 1 rookie, Sebastian Aho, will enter the mix. He does so with no North American experience which makes it mostly a wild guess predicting how well he will do. Especially if injuries enter the mix, the potential is there to also see someone like Haydn Fleury play at the NHL level in his first season of professional hockey. The sophomores on the blue line in bigger roles: The season also sees 3 NHL sophomores in Jaccob Slavin, Noah Hanifin and Brett Pesce expected to take on even greater roles with the departure of John-Michael Liles and the buy out of James Wisniewski. As of right now, Slavin could pair with Faulk on a first pairing and Noah Hanifin and Brett Pesce could be the second pairing. Wow! This time last summer, the question was how many years away this promising group was from being NHL regulars. Ryan Murphy is not a sophomore, but he too is another young player who could see more ice time and a bigger role. The new guy: Teuvo Teravainen, who was acquired from the Blackhawks, is another new face with significant potential. Jumping up from third line to first: The duo of Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask are currently expected to fill the hole left by Eric Staal and Kris Versteeg’s departure. Both had solid 2015-16 campaigns, but it was in more of a third...
Thoughts on Carolina Hurricanes goalie situation

Thoughts on Carolina Hurricanes goalie situation

Way back when in my series of Carolina Hurricanes season preview blogs, I called out ‘great goaltending’ as requirement #1 for the Canes to rebound and surprise this season. You can find that post HERE. That has not happened – not even close. Cam Ward did have a short stretch of strong play early in the season, but overall the Hurricanes goaltending has been sub-par. Hardly a day goes by when there is not another graph on Twitter that highlights the Canes struggles in net. In a day and age when good NHL goalies push north of .920 save percentages, Cam Ward sits at .893, and Eddie Lack sits at .863.   The situation begs the question of where the team goes from here: Could they add another goalie to the mix? I doubt that will happen for the 2015-16 season. Unless the aim is to add someone for past this season, I do not see Ron Francis spending $ or trade assets to add another goalie. The other option is to pull up 1 of the goalies from Charlotte, but neither of them are exactly lighting the AHL on fire either. Drew MacIntyre sits at .893 and Rasmus Tirronen at .873 for save percentage and neither has been particularly good. An injury could get 1 of them NHL ice time, but otherwise I am not sure either is the answer for 2015-16 or beyond.   Is there hope for the future? Yes. The best ‘future’ is 2014 draftee Alex Nedeljkovic. This week’s ‘The Pipeline’ report which you can find HERE profiled his trade. He is a bit of...
The Eddie Lack blog

The Eddie Lack blog

To catch anyone up who missed Saturday’s game, there were actually a decent number of positive stories despite the 5-2 loss. The story of the game on the negative side and the biggest reason for the loss was the play of Eddie Lack. He gave up 4 goals on 13 shots in about half of a game. When he departed the Canes were down 4-1 despite playing fairly well. Of the 4 goals, 3 were the very bad variety that saw Lack mostly make saves but have all 3 sneak through his pads and either dribble into the net or sit there to be quickly tapped in by a Sharks player. There is no candy-coating the fact that it was a horrible game for Eddie Lack. This post will address what it means bigger picture-wise on multiple levels.   The game itself First, I do not mean to make excuses for Eddie Lack’s play. But the Canes did not even come close to help a backup who had not played in 11 days find his way into the game. At 1:20 intot the game, the first shot he faced was a talented Tomas Hertl coming in alone from the face-off circle after he inside-outed rookie Noah Hanifin off the rush. He made the save but did not keep the puck giving Joel Ward a tap in rebound goal. About 7 minutes later he faced Joel Ward in alone skating in between the circles. Ward beat him off the bar and in on the 1 goal that was just a tough break for Lack. Sure, Lack could have been better...
Single player with greatest potential to turn tide for Canes

Single player with greatest potential to turn tide for Canes

So with today’s big news of the trade for Kris Versteeg, surely that is the answer. Right?  Actually, no.  While I think Versteeg is a good addition and that his offensive abilities are a good addition, it is not him. When you turn to the statisticians, the report is that the Canes goaltending has been average at best and more often below average over the recent run of seasons that are minus any playoff games.  Cam Ward actually rebounded last year, but again the stats suggest that the Canes could be better in net. Especially for teams who are on the outside looking in on the playoffs, this is not good enough.  The goalie position can be the great equalizer in the NHL and many times can lift an entire team for stretches of games or a whole season.  Because of that, I think the biggest potential difference-maker is Eddie Lack.  As relatively young NHL goalie just entering his prime, I think a big season by Lack trumps all others.  While an improvement for the Canes will require a number of players old and new to step their games up a notch, a great season by Lack instantly makes the Canes better more so than a 20-minute per game skater.  At the end of the day, Cam Ward’s play will obviously be dictated by Ward himself, but I think Lack could actually help here too.  Ward has always been at his best when he is loose and just enjoying hockey.  Just maybe Lack’s fun-loving, loose nature also helps to spark Ward as a backup or 1B type goalie. Go Canes!  ...