Vancouver Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack has posted only league average numbers in his rookie season. Those numbers look an awful lot better, however, when you consider the circumstances the raw 26-year-old Swede has been thrust into in Vancouver.
Lack started out the season as a backup. But he outperformed presumptive starter Roberto Luongo, and particularly stood out when the former netminder went down with injury in late December. Ultimately Lack started ahead of Luongo at the Heritage Classic in early March, and was jeered by Canucks fans throughout the game.
The decision by the Canucks to start Lack during the Heritage Classic served as the straw that broke the Camel's back in terms of the club's relationship with Luongo. He was finally dealt to the Florida Panthers early the next week.
The good humored Lack struggled initially in adjusting to the starter's role after Luongo was traded, however, he's been on fire of late. In Lack's past five games the affable goaltender has posted a .920 save percentage while managing a favorable decision four times.
Canucks general manager Mike Gillis was asked about Lack's maturity and emerging resiliency on Thursday, during an appearance on Vancouver sports talk radio station the Team 1040. The embattled Canucks executive offered the following:
Eddie's a special player, and we felt he was a special young guy. He's got a great ability to laugh at himself, he's got all the physical tools that you look for in a goaltender, he's got great size and athleticism and he works extremely hard on his game.
We knew we had something speical a couple of years ago with him. We're not concerned at all about it, there's going to be ups and down as he goes through this process in establishing himself as a number one guy. It's part of what happens and he'll be better off for it. He's got a great personality and he wants to be a Canuck.
We're confident in him
Lack will start the second of back-to-back games on Thursday night against the explosive Colorado Avalanche.
Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Anne-Marie Sorvin