Throughout the summer, I have been fortunate enough to talk to some exceptionally bright, and insightful Canucks prospects. First, it was Sudbury Wolves defenseman Frankie Corrado. Then, it was Chicago Wolves forward Billy Sweatt.
Now, I present to you the chat I had with goaltending prospect Eddie Lack. Lack was 4th in the entire AHL in save percentage this past season (.925 save%), and wound up submitting his second consecutive stellar season overall. Most scouts will tell you that he is ready for the next level, and could be ready to work a backup goaltender’s workload in the NHL.
Other than his outstanding on-ice performance, though, why did I specifically want to chat with Eddie Lack? As people that have seen his activity on YouTube and Twitter know, he is as good at cracking jokes as he is at stopping pucks. Heck, his Twitter bio says "I love chirping my teammates." That’s something I can get on-board with.
What did he have to say to me? We started off with some actual hockey talk for all of you puck-fiends, and then quickly veered off into nonsense. He didn’t let down.
Click Past the Jump For the Chat.
Dimitri Filipovic: This is a two-parter to start us off, in relation to your transition over to North America. What was the toughest part of the transition process from the SEL to the AHL? And on a more personal basis, how difficult was it leaving Sweden (a place which you had spent your entire life to-date)?
Eddie Lack: The process was smoother than I actually thought it was going to be. The hardest part was the trap zone behind the net. Early on I got a couple of penalties due to it. It was definitely tough, but everyone was just so friendly, and they took care of me. They made sure I was felt welcome. Of course I missed my family a lot, but they came to visit me very quickly.
DF: Lately, we have seen numerous tall, lanky goaltenders have success in the NHL. Do you feel like that gives you a particular advantage in net [Note: Lack is listed at 6’5”]?
EL: Definitely. I feel like I don’t have to challenge shooters quite as much as smaller goaltenders do. I can keep pretty quiet, and deep, in my net. That’s an advantage for me.
DF: How did it feel being passed over in the NHL entry draft? Did it upset you? Or did you simply not have your expectations all that high heading into the entire process?
EL: I didn’t really expect to get picked in the draft. I knew that I was on some scouting lists, but didn’t really pay too much attention to it. I was mostly just focused on what I had in front of me, and at the time, that was playing with Leksand.
DF: I’m sure that there must have been offers from other teams while you were still a free agent back in 2010. Is there anything in particular about the Vancouver Canucks as an organization that made you wish to sign with them?
EL: I just felt as if they had a plan for me from the very beginning. Everyone in the organization had been so friendly right from the start. And my decision has been justified, as I’ve really enjoyed my first two years here.
DF: Professional athletes are creatures of habit – everyone has their own superstitions. From what I know, goaltenders may be the most superstitious of the bunch. What do you do before games, and while you’re on the road, to get ready for games?
EL: Me and my roommate, Jordan Schroeder, always have fish and rice before home games. I have some other small superstitions before games, but I’d rather keep them to myself [Laughs].
DF: It’s no secret that the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks have had their differences in the past few seasons. Was it weird calling Chicago ‘home’ last season? Did people treat you differently when you were out on the town because of it?
EL: Not really, no. I haven’t had any problems there. We get treated very nicely. I’m just so lucky to have played for such a great organization.
DF: Can you tell Henrik and Daniel apart?
EL: [Laughs]. Yes, I can. I thought it was impossible at first, but you notice small things about them if you spend enough time with them.
DF: When I chatted with Billy Sweatt, he said that the player he was closest with on the team was his roommate on the road, Eddie Lack. Are those feelings mutual? Or is Sweatty’s heart about to be broken?
EL: [Laughs]. Me and Billy are close. We both like to relax on the road, watch movies, and of course, go on romantic dinners [Laughs again]. It’s just too bad that my invitation to his wedding got lost in the mail..
DF: This past season, the Chicago Wolves players were a must-follow on Twitter. You guys were constantly having fun at each other’s expenses all year long. Is it like that behind the scenes as well? And which guys were the ones most active in the jokes and pranks?
EL: It’s even crazier behind the scenes. The two Mikes – Davies and Duco – are probably the most active.
DF: On your Twitter bio, it says that you "love to chirp teammates". Do you take that onto the ice with you, and use it against the opposition? How much chirping do you get in return from players trying to create screens in front of you to get you off your game?
EL: Actually, I usually don’t say much at all, unless it’s to my teammates. I try to stay focused on my task.
DF: Last season in the NHL, a big topic of discussion was the protection of the goaltenders. Especially after the Lucic/Miller incident. How do you feel on the matter? Are goaltenders being taken care of enough, or do you think it should be a bigger point of emphasis?
EL: I personally haven’t had any problems like that, so I can’t say from experience. But of course it’s something that you never want to see. Where I’m from, goalies are protected very well.
DF: You have registered terrific numbers in the AHL for two consecutive seasons. Do you feel that you’re ready to step up to the NHL, and play a legitimate backup role to Cory Schneider (if, oh I don’t know, a particular other Canucks goaltender gets traded)?
EL: I feel like I’m ready for the opportunity. I’m happy with my past two seasons, and I feel like I have developed a lot. But if I need another year in the AHL, I understand. Once I get up there, I want to be there to stay.
DF: What are you working on specifically in preparation for next season?
EL: Speed. That’s what I hear is the biggest difference between the NHL and the AHL. I feel that it will be huge going up to the next level.
DF: When can fans expect news in regards to your Restricted Free Agent status? Do you expect that to get resolved any time soon? You’re planning on staying in North America, and not returning to Sweden, right?
EL: Today! I just signed a two year extension.
[Editor’s note: I talked to Eddie over the weekend. News broke on Monday morning that he had signed a two-year extension.]
DF: Last question – do you have any inside information on @strombone1? Is it possible that it could be a fellow goaltender?
EL: [Laughs]. I don’t know. I’ll try and find out for you!
DF: Eddie, it’s been fun. Thanks for taking the time to chat. I recommend everybody follow Eddie on Twitter – @eddielack. You won’t be disappointed.