Prospect Profile: #6 Eddie Lack

Dimitri Filipovic
August 23 2013 11:55AM


Image via Matthew Henderson

For my debut post on this platform - which came just under a year ago, on August 30th, 2012 to be exact - I was charged with writing a profile on the 2nd ranked prospect in the team's system, even though I hadn't even participated in the rankings process. I had disagreed with how the ranking team had evaluated the system, and in particular the player in question, making the assignment a rather unenviable one for yours truly.

Here's the result of said profile. The handful of Canucks Army writers that had been responsible for setting the rankings had Swedish goaltender Eddie Lack as the team's best prospect behind Zack Kassian heading into this past season, which I thought was a little bit overzealous. I had him somewhere in the 5-to-7 range; but that had more to do with the position he plays - and my philosophy when it comes to valuing goaltenders - and less to do with Lack himself, who is a fine talent. 

Suffice it to say that I feel far more comfortable with where we have him in this year's edition of the series. Read on past the jump for more on "The Stork".

Lack, a 6'5'' Swedish goaltender, is the highest ranked goaltending prospect on our list this season - with Joe Cannata coming in at #16, and Joacim Eriksson at #11 - despite what can only be characterized as an disappointing 2012-13 campaign. At this time last year, he was not only coming off of a (second straight) sterling season which saw him post a .925 save%, and 2.31 goals against average for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL, but was also thought to have a very legitimate shot of backing up Cory Schneider for the Canucks once Roberto Luongo was dealt.

Well, that never happened. Instead he went back to a dysfunctional Wolves team that was marred by all sorts of issues in nearly every facet of the game. Some of the blame has to be placed on Lack, who simply wasn't very good (.899 sv%, 3.00 GAA) in the 13 starts he made before being shelved with a hip injury that ultimately required surgery (resulting in a "Tragically Hip" headline from Drance, which was truly an all-timer). 

Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to chat with our go-to guy when it comes to all things goalies, Kevin Woodley, about Lack this time around, but I think that the quotes that he provided us with last year regarding the lanky Swede, and his development, still apply:

"We have seen this in other ‘late-blooming’ Scandinavian goalies. He didn’t have the skill and instinct coached out of him, becoming too reliant on his size. Now that he’s learning how to use that size and technique more efficiently and effectively, it should improve his consistency. Most importantly, he has maintained that extra layer of skill, especially with the hands, and the willingness to throw technique to the wind and scramble if necessary. That’s needed to succeed long-term in the NHL."

You always hate to see guys essentially lose full seasons during their most important development years (Patrick McNally is nodding his head, somewhere), and that's basically what 2012-13 was for Lack. Getting games in to refine his technique and hone his craft were of utmost importance for him, and pretty much all of last season was a throw away. I guess only time will tell how much that impacts him going forward.

This coming season is a monumental one for the 25-year old; with the departure of Cory Schneider, there's a back-up gig up for grabs, and I'd guess that Lack is the front-runner for the spot heading into camp. Especially due to his contract status. If you'll recall he signed a rather savvy 2-year contract last summer, which ensured that he'd be on a 1-way deal this year(*). He's making his $850k, regardless of where he plays, while his biggest competition, Joacim Eriksson, makes a significantly smaller figure (only $70k) if he gets send down. Lack is two years older than Eriksson, and becomes an RFA again next summer, so it stands to reason that the team would like to see what they've got in him before reaching another crossroads next year. 

(*) Thanks to the CapGeek waiver calculator, we know that Lack is exempt waivers for 54 more games, or 1 more year. This means that he can still be safely sent down to the minors.

While this technically has nothing to do with stopping pucks, Lack's social media game and personality are off the charts, and nearly rival that of the incumbent. In the past he has blogged for the Canucks' official team site, had some memorable 140-character exchanges with Strombone on Twitter, acted like a goofball while interviewing his teammates, and even participated in The Stanchion's "Fake Season" (seriously, watch that video if you haven't already). I even got to personally chat with him last summer, and he was a joy to talk to. If he does make the team, I'm sure that he'll do his part in turning what many people are expecting to be a largely unentertaining season into a somewhat palatable one.

Total tangent that I wanted to throw in because it sort of applies here alert: I don't know about you, but for some reason I've always had this preconceived notion that Sweden is a nation that has produced great goaltending talent over the years. However, that really hasn't been the case. That list is, um, less than stellar. It seems that things are about to change in that regard, though, as they have a handful of highly touted young goaltending prospects on the way (Lehner, Markstrom, Svedberg, Lack, etc.).

I did get a chance to briefly exchange some words with Woodley about this, and he basically said that their top-down national development program (modeled off of the Finnish equivalent) didn't start until the mid-2000's, and that there's a whole generation of intriguing talent just turning pro/hitting draft age. It just confirms what we all knew - Sweden is awesome.

Other Prospect Profiles in This Series:

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Dimitri Filipovic writes about hockey on the internet, and is the Managing Editor of Canucks Army. You can follow him on Twitter @DimFilipovic, and email him at dimitri.filipovic@gmail.com.
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#51 NM00
August 23 2013, 05:13PM
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@andyg

"Being undrafted is is not important"

False

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#52 Ted
August 23 2013, 05:18PM
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NM00 wrote:

"Having said that, I still enjoy watching him rant on and expect us to take his word as gospel."

I'm more than willing to be challenged to think differently.

Not sure you are properly equipped, though.

@NM00 - I'm pretty sure you're not properly eqipped to think. That has become abundantly clear!

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#53 andyg
August 23 2013, 05:29PM
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NM00 wrote:

"Being undrafted is is not important"

False

That's all you got!!! So if you ever meet Alex be sure to let him know that you think he is irrelevant.

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#54 Cam Charron
August 23 2013, 06:20PM
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NM00 wrote:

"Being undrafted is is not important"

False

My bet is still on the table.

Just tell me where to send $50 this week.

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#55 NM00
August 23 2013, 07:09PM
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@Cam Charron

It's hard to take your bet seriously when the offer was preceded with this:

"The problem with your argument is that it takes for just one undrafted goaltender under the age of 30 to become a starter to render your argument invalid."

Another strawman. Not my argument at all.

But I'll gladly make a bet with you since you seem so confident.

I am confident as well actually.

$100 to the charitable cause of the winner's choice.

Based on the number of goalies under the age of 30 on opening day to put up a top 30 qualified save percentage season in 2013-2014.

I get every goalie drafted in the top 100 picks.

You get every goalie drafted outside of the top 100 picks as well as all undrafted goalies.

If your team has more goalies in the top 30 at regular season's end, you win.

Let me know if this works for you and/or if you would like to tweak the bet.

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#56 Cam Charron
August 23 2013, 07:17PM
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@NM00

If you say "there are no undrafted goalies under the age of XX" in the league, the problem is that it only takes ONE to do it in the next year to render that point moot, in which case you have to change the parameters.

Then there's survivorship bias. If Jonathan Bernier had the career he did after being a sixth round pick, you think the Leafs give up as much as they did for him? No, it's only because he's a first round pick he's worth going for. Goalies that have slow starts that are likely to stay on are disproportionately high picks. I've looked at this data going back to 1998 when we had ES shot numbers available.

I'd be more than comfortable to suggest that over half of the top 30 goalies in the world didn't get drafted in the Top 100 picks of the draft. The problem is that there's no way to measure it.

I'm not suggesting that it's preferable to be a lower pick, which you seem to think. I'm suggesting that the way goalies are scouted is flawed, and there are enough goalies that slip through the inefficiency to become a star at some point. My gamble is to bet that another one will. Whether it's Eddie Lack, or Michael Houser, or Sergey Makarov, I don't know, but the point is somebody is going to come in and force you to change your parameters that you've conveniently set.

Why are you looking at goalies under 30? Because Viktor Fasth is 30. If Fasth were 27, I'd be willing to bet you'd be making the same argument with a different number.

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#57 NM00
August 23 2013, 07:38PM
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@Cam Charron

"Why are you looking at goalies under 30?"

Because Lack is under 30!

I've made it abundantly clear numerous times (starting with the post in the Eriksson article) that the focus is on where goaltending is now and where it appears to be going.

Shockingly, I consider goalies in their 20s to be more applicable to a discussion about Lack and his late round/undrafted contemporaries than goalies in their 30s (Lundqvist, Rinne, Backstrom) and 40s (Joseph, Roloson, Thomas).

In case you haven't noticed, goaltenders have evolved quite a bit in the last decade.

"I'm suggesting that the way goalies are scouted is flawed, and there are enough goalies that slip through the inefficiency to become a star at some point. My gamble is to bet that another one will."

Thank you captain obvious.

I'd make that bet, too.

But would you take my proposed bet for 2013-2014?

I'm gladly willing to put money on this.

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#58 Cam Charron
August 23 2013, 07:46PM
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Lack is also under 31, too. If I'm not mistaken, Viktor Fasth was under 31 last year.

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#59 Cam Charron
August 23 2013, 07:47PM
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Your proposed bet makes no sense. I only make bets where I have limited risk but maximum reward, because I'm not going to put $100 up to what's basically a coin flip.

There are some things you can predict with numbers. The save percentage of undrafted goaltenders under the age of 30 isn't one of them.

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#60 NM00
August 23 2013, 08:04PM
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@Cam Charron

Ugh.

Read again.

You get all goalies drafted after pick 100 AND all undrafted goalies.

Your team inherently has more potential members than mine.

"I only make bets where I have limited risk but maximum reward, because I'm not going to put $100 up to what's basically a coin flip."

I'm willing to give you the better reward.

I'll bet $200 and you only bet $100.

Considering the size of your team as well as the 2-1 odds, it seems like the type of bet a man who believes goaltending is a pure crapshoot would make.

Not that I want to put words in your mouth...

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#61 Cam Charron
August 23 2013, 08:08PM
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No, I want you to admit the plausibility of a Black Swan, undrafted goalie, I don't want to risk money. I am willing to pay you money every year until there is such a swan.

You HAVE to be able to understand that it's possible a goalie under the age of 30 can make the NHL despite being undrafted, and that it is plausible such a goaltender could be considered one of the best in the game.

I don't know WHO that is, or when it will happen. Your parameters are closed and contained. You need to think outside them, because something is going to happen that is going to ruin your argument in the next ten years and you'll have to start all over again.

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#62 NM00
August 23 2013, 08:37PM
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@Cam Charron

"You HAVE to be able to understand that it's possible a goalie under the age of 30 can make the NHL despite being undrafted, and that it is plausible such a goaltender could be considered one of the best in the game."

Your strawmen just keep getting flimsier.

Considering I mentioned Bobrovsky and Halak IN MY ORIGINAL POST on the subject of goalies under 30, stop making up BS about "I guarantee there will be an exception!" as though that is what the argument has been this entire time.

That's never been the argument.

It's about the difference between top 2-4 round drafted goalies and all the other goalie "prospects" in 2013.

Your Grabovski fantasy may have been premised on wish fulfilment and illogical reasoning.

But at least it was harmless rosterbation that placated the delusional portion of Canuck fans.

Ignoring goaltending trends is another thing altogether.

If you want to grow as a writer, avoiding fallacious reasoning should be your #1 focus.

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#63 Cam Charron
August 23 2013, 08:53PM
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My Grabovski fantasy was what? That he'd sign a one-year deal worth... $3-million? Yeah, I completely overshot that estimate by exactly zero years and zero cents.

"It's about the difference between top 2-4 round drafted goalies and all the other goalie "prospects" in 2013."

Why 2013? I get it's 2013, but I see at this point no reason why Sergey Makarov is any less of a good bet to make the NHL in the next five years than Malcolm Subban or Oscar Dansk.

The fact is that there are tonnes of goalies, and it is impossible to project their trajectory. The reason why higher picks appear to last longer is just that—their teams give them more chances. I could have a post on this, but a young goaltender's chances are determined more by pedigree than by accomplishments. Survivorship bias accounts for a huuuuuge percentage of young goalies in the NHL. Think Steve Mason is kicking around if he didn't have a good 20 games to start his career?

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#64 NM00
August 23 2013, 09:24PM
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@Cam Charron

"My Grabovski fantasy was what? That he'd sign a one-year deal worth... $3-million? Yeah, I completely overshot that estimate by exactly zero years and zero cents."

Hilarious.

1. The Canucks never had $3 million to spend on him (barring something like LTIR Booth or moving other money).

2. Read Grabo's comments about why he chose Washington.

Shockingly, it was because he can be the #2 pivot in an offensive role (something the Canucks can't guarantee him without completely changing Kesler's role and getting Grabo to believe them).

3. Your $3 million estimate was based on your poor attempt to calculate his buyout money.

But it's not as though somebody didn't point out the obvious a few hours before Grabo took his talents to the Capitals...

"Why 2013?"

Because we're talking about Lack's environment.

Not Lundqvist's and certainly not Roloson's.

"The fact is that there are tonnes of goalies, and it is impossible to project their trajectory."

I'm not talking about predicting success, though.

I'm talking about predicting failure.

And I'm talking about categorizing top 2-4 round picks as a seperate entity from the rest of the pack.

I gave this stat to a commenter earlier:

Based on my previously noted save percentage/qualified goalie criteria since 2010-2011, 82% of the goalies under the age of 30 were found in the top 100 picks.

33% of the goalies over the age of 30 were found in the top 100 picks.

Which goes with everything I said in my original post on the subject:

There was a time when finding North American starters late in the draft/undrafted was realistic.

It's been next to impossible for years.

There was a time when finding European starters late in the draft/undrafted was realistic.

But they have also become exceptions looking at the goalies under 30.

If you want to tell Joe Cannata to look at Brian Elliott, be my guest.

But it would be a poor advice.

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#65 Ted
August 23 2013, 10:34PM
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Wow. NM00, you're special fella, aren't you.

I'm so happy to hear your word is law and any contradictory opinion is rubbish. Just wow. No, I am not limiting my opinion to these posts. I'm noting all of your posts I've seen in my short time here. Hey genius, there's a chance your moronic assumptions won't be fact. Just give it a rest already. State an opinion and stop being the twat you are.

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#66 NM00
August 24 2013, 11:36AM
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Ted wrote:

Wow. NM00, you're special fella, aren't you.

I'm so happy to hear your word is law and any contradictory opinion is rubbish. Just wow. No, I am not limiting my opinion to these posts. I'm noting all of your posts I've seen in my short time here. Hey genius, there's a chance your moronic assumptions won't be fact. Just give it a rest already. State an opinion and stop being the twat you are.

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem

Don't let anybody tell you the typical hockey fan is devoid of the critical thinking component of the brain.

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#67 The Voice In The Dark
August 24 2013, 01:14PM
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@NM00

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/the-fallacy-fallacy

Ted's right. Please go away.

Your wet blanket BS towards all things Canucks has worn thin. If you really think Gillis is so bad, why "support" the team? Stop following the Canucks until he's gone. Then you can feel even more vindicated at the end when you can come back and tell us all how right you were.

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#68 andyg
August 24 2013, 01:15PM
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NM00 wrote:

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem

Don't let anybody tell you the typical hockey fan is devoid of the critical thinking component of the brain.

I have 2 questions for you.

Are you saying that signing free agents is a waist of time?

Do you think that Lack is a prospect of note for us and has a potential to be a good nhl pro?

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#69 Ruprecht
August 24 2013, 05:39PM
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Let it go boys. It's well past the point of painful reading. Agree to disagree and move the feck on. This is a story about Eddie Lack for the love of Pete.

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#70 antro
August 24 2013, 07:37PM
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The Voice In The Dark wrote:

That's just because "the point", to NM00 anyway, is always:

-Mike Gillis stinks

-Mike Gillis is a terrible GM

-Mike Gillis traded the wrong goalie

-Mike Gillis traded the wrong young forward

-Mike Gillis eats babies

-Mike Gillis traded for the wrong defenceman

-Mike Gillis drafted the wrong goalie

-Mike Gillis drafted the wrong forward

-Mike Gillis drafted the wrong defenceman

-Mike Gillis hired the wrong coach

-Mike Gillis mentored under Bin Laden

-Mike Gillis hired the wrong scouts

-Mike Gillis hired the wrong waterboys

-Mike Gillis should be fired

-Mike Gillis signed the wrong undrafted goalie

-Mike Gillis signed the wrong undrafted forward

-Mike Gillis signed the wrong undrafted defenceman

-Mike Gillis doesn't manage assets well

-Mike Gillis doesn't manage money well

-Mike Gillis is ugly

-Mike Gillis is the worst GM in the team's history

-Mike Gillis is responsible for the rain in Vancouver

-Mike Gillis has a bad trading record

-Mike Gillis has a bad drafting record

-Mike Gillis has a bad FA signing record

-Mike Gillis deserves no credit for the team's success under his term

-Mike Gillis deserves all blame for the team's lack of recent playoff success

-Mike Gillis kicked my dog

-Mike Gillis will lead the team to the bottom of the league

-Mike Gillis should never have been hired as GM

-Mike Gillis didn't do anything positive for the team. Everything good in his term has been because of Burke and Nonis before him, or because of Gilman since

-Mike Gillis is a terrible GM

-Mike Gillis should be fired

So you see? NM00 does stick to "the point", all the time. Any deviation from "the point"? yourlogicalfallacy.is STRAWMAN!!! BANDWAGON!

Double-triple-quadruple props buttons--where are these buttons when you need them?

This was absolutely hilarious! And now that I see this list all in a row, I've got a sneaking suspicion who NM00 is: Brian Burke! Am I right?

Brian, aren't you busy with lawsuits against internet rumour-mongers? And Rugby Canada? Why come here and rant about Gillis? You have a cup and he doesn't. Take solace in that.

And PS: as Cam said, Brian, you don't understand how statistical analysis works, and what is considered significant and what might just be a coincidence. And you have absolutely no idea what context means, or why it is important. And you have no ability to realize when you're wrong. Maybe that's why you were fired from the Leafs...

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#71 NM00
August 24 2013, 08:18PM
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antro wrote:

Double-triple-quadruple props buttons--where are these buttons when you need them?

This was absolutely hilarious! And now that I see this list all in a row, I've got a sneaking suspicion who NM00 is: Brian Burke! Am I right?

Brian, aren't you busy with lawsuits against internet rumour-mongers? And Rugby Canada? Why come here and rant about Gillis? You have a cup and he doesn't. Take solace in that.

And PS: as Cam said, Brian, you don't understand how statistical analysis works, and what is considered significant and what might just be a coincidence. And you have absolutely no idea what context means, or why it is important. And you have no ability to realize when you're wrong. Maybe that's why you were fired from the Leafs...

Dumb.

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#72 NM00
August 24 2013, 08:29PM
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@andyg

Why would signing free agents be a waste of time?

I consider being undrafted as a 21 year old in 2009 to be a big red flag.

But even with the way the industry is trending, occasionally somebody will fall through the cracks.

Bobrovsky is an example.

Jose Bautista wasn't much of a baseball prospect.

But every now and then the unpredictable happens and a 29 year old utility player becomes a perennial all star.

Should we count on such an exception?

Should we keep pointing to that one exception and say "see I told you sabermetricians! Your fancy predictive tools are imperfect!"

Or should we just accept that every now and then stuff happens because that is the nature of sports?

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#73 andyg
August 24 2013, 11:04PM
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NM00 wrote:

Why would signing free agents be a waste of time?

I consider being undrafted as a 21 year old in 2009 to be a big red flag.

But even with the way the industry is trending, occasionally somebody will fall through the cracks.

Bobrovsky is an example.

Jose Bautista wasn't much of a baseball prospect.

But every now and then the unpredictable happens and a 29 year old utility player becomes a perennial all star.

Should we count on such an exception?

Should we keep pointing to that one exception and say "see I told you sabermetricians! Your fancy predictive tools are imperfect!"

Or should we just accept that every now and then stuff happens because that is the nature of sports?

12% of nhl players last year were undrafted and canucks have 3 this year. Burrows ,Tanev,Garrison. 5 last year. If lack sticks as back up? That sounds like decent odds to me.

3 of Tampa's top 5 are undrafted. 2 of Pittsburgh,s top 3. Both of Anaheim,s goal tenders are undrafted.

Clearly talent is what is important, not their draft status. Teams that went through years where they missed the playoffs can focus on the draft but teams like the Canucks need to leave no stone unturned.

You have not said if you think Lack is a top end prospect or not?

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#74 antro
August 25 2013, 06:26AM
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NM00 wrote:

Dumb.

Aw, I'm hurt. You mean that apart from absolutely not understanding anything about statistical analysis, especially as used by some of the sophisticated hockey bloggers (not all are equal), you have no sense of humour? I can't imagine why no one takes you seriously, Brian. ;)

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#75 NM00
August 25 2013, 11:48AM
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@antro

Not that I pay much attention, but I'm not a fan of what Burke/Nonis have done in TO to date.

But, hey, if wilful ignorance comforts you, go for it!

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#76 Nateb123
August 25 2013, 01:40PM
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In this comments section:

-The entire staff of CanucksArmy tells off NM00 for being a tool.

-NM00 doesn't get it.

Can you guys not ban this guy?

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#77 NM00
August 25 2013, 01:48PM
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Nateb123 wrote:

In this comments section:

-The entire staff of CanucksArmy tells off NM00 for being a tool.

-NM00 doesn't get it.

Can you guys not ban this guy?

Awww are your feelings hurt?

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the writers on here are capable of making a logically sound argument if they disagree with any of my claims.

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem

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#78 Nateb123
August 25 2013, 03:51PM
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@NM00

Why would my feelings be hurt? Because I find you tiresome? If you spoke to anyone in the real world like you do to the commentors here, you would be promptly punched in the face. Scratch that, you'd make them feel the brief impulse of wanting to punch you in the face but it would be tempered by their pity because you're just a lonely little ball of anger, a child with an astounding level of arrogance.

That's not ad hominem because the issue at this point is not one particular statement of yours about hockey. It's your absolutely, downright crap character.

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#79 NM00
August 25 2013, 06:28PM
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@Nateb123

Try harder.

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#80 Ted
August 25 2013, 09:47PM
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NM00 wrote:

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem

Don't let anybody tell you the typical hockey fan is devoid of the critical thinking component of the brain.

@NM00

Oh, it is safe to assume you're not capable of anything close to critical thinking. Please go back to your community college intro to philosophy and read the basics again. Also, please try and stay within the scope of the argument.

Does anyone have a recent update on Lack and how he's coming along?

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#81 NM00
August 26 2013, 11:22AM
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Ted wrote:

@NM00

Oh, it is safe to assume you're not capable of anything close to critical thinking. Please go back to your community college intro to philosophy and read the basics again. Also, please try and stay within the scope of the argument.

Does anyone have a recent update on Lack and how he's coming along?

Swing and a miss.

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