Report: Benning Offering Eddie Lack for a Second Round Pick

Per the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning is trying to trade Eddie Lack and is seeking a second round pick in return for the burgeoning goalie.


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Garrioch didn’t have much to say, but this line from his Ottawa Sun column yesterday caught the eye of Canucks fans this morning:

The Canucks are trying to make room for Jacob Markstrom and GM Jim Benning is seeking a second-round pick in return.

First and foremost, before we even begin to analyze this, we have to consider who this report is coming from. While a legitimate MSM guy with (presumably) legitimate industry sources, Garrioch isn’t exactly Bob McKenzie, and he’s been known to pen rumour columns in the past that are little more than industry speculation. It’s impossible to say that he’s making stuff up, and I doubt he is, but who knows if this is wild speculation on behalf of a source or an actual account of Jim Benning picking up the phone and calling other GMs offering Lack for a second round pick.

If I were a betting man, even though we know that Lack is on the table in a possible goalie trade, I would guess that Benning isn’t actively shopping Eddie Lack right now. Although they seem to much prefer Ryan Miller and are high on Jacob Markstrom, Lack was easily their best goaltender last season and represents Vancouver’s best chance at having league average goaltending next season. It just doesn’t make sense to be actively shopping their best goalie in late-May.

In terms of just stopping the puck, Ryan Miller’s 2014-15 year was below NHL average for just the second time in his NHL career as he struggled tremendously to keep pucks out of Vancouver’s net at 5-on-5. This wasn’t completely unexpected however, as we predicted Miller would be a below average goalie in his first season with Vancouver thanks primarily to age-related decline. Aging another year, we expect him to start trending closer to “should be a backup” territory in the near future, and after suffering a fairly major knee in 2015, who knows how he’ll physically be able to respond.

Jacob Markstrom on the other hand will simply cost too much to play another year in the AHL, especially for a cap-strapped team like the Canucks. While he’s been dynamite in the minor leagues, he’s been catastrophically awful as an NHLer, rocking a career 0.896 save percentage so far. It’s completely possible he turns it around, but talking to guys like Greg Balloch of InGoal Magazine, I get the sense that Markstrom still has fairly severe holes in his game that are a major hindrance to having NHL success. Specifically, he has to get much faster and read the play better to avoid chasing the puck and opening up holes NHL shooters can exploit.

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The Canucks like Markstrom, but he’s not exactly young anymore and his contract situation will basically necessitate a goalie moving on this offseason, so you can see why Canucks fans are pensive about Eddie Lack. He’s good, he’s not in decline, and he’s a fan favourite. I can’t speak for the whole fanbase, but I get the sense that trading Eddie Lack would go over like a lead balloon in Vancouver given how fans have grown attached to the goofy Swede, especially if the return is little more than magic beans.

That being said, there is a situation where is makes sense to move Lack for future assets, and that’s if the Canucks are going for a full-on rebuild. It’s going to be extremely tough to compete in the short-term with a Miller-Markstrom tandem unless Markstrom gets a hell of a lot quicker, and Eddie Lack represents their best chance at rebuilding on the fly. Lack is 27 though, so he’s not a long-term solution in Vancouver’s crease. Conservatively, you’re looking at 4-5 more good years of Lack before you need to have a guy 100% ready and waiting to take the reins. Could Lack be good for longer than that? Absolutely, but it would be foolish to bet your future on a guy who will be at an age where goalies usually decline when you should be ready to compete.

If you’re going to tear the whole thing down and try and get an Auston Matthews or a Jakob Chychrun or a Jesse Puljujarvi, then having a strong goalie like Eddie Lack is probably counter-productive. If getting a lottery pick or two to solidify the future cornerstone pieces of this franchise is the plan, then by all means trade Eddie Lack for assets that will be stepping into their prime when your next core is.

All in all, while we know that Lack is in play especially since he’s not locked down to a long-term contract and Vancouver has to make a move with one of their goalies, Garrioch’s report seems more like throwing stuff at the wall rather than an actual nugget of industry information. At least, that’s what I hope it is.

  • jung gun

    I think this is the right move. Forget Lack, sell him while he’s at a high, get a high 2nd in return, put Markstrom in and patch up the supposed “holes” in his game, which is exactly what Melanson has been working with him on all season.

    It’s the best move all things considered, even if it’s a PR nightmare and doesn’t make statistical sense. The Canucks aren’t a competing contender team, but they won’t suck donkeyballs if they trade Lack.

    Obviously, I’d rather Miller go, but that’s unrealistic.

    • andyg


      Lack is clearly a great teammate and a fantastic interview — but then so is Kevin Bieksa. What is going to disappoint the fans more — losing an affable Swedish goalie who is decent but hasn’t really proved himself as a full-time starter yet or losing yet more assets for nothing?

      Put another way, what is worth more: Markstrom + a 2nd round pick or Lack? Because that’s essentially the math we’re dealing with. I really wish we could get rid of Miller too but that’s really unlikely unless Buffalo really is building that All-American contender out there behind Bylsma and Eichel.

  • peterl

    I think this is just talk leading up to Eddie Lack contract negotiations. The Canucks organization are desperate to win back fans and sell tickets. Trading Eddie Lack now would be infuriating to the fan base that has seen popular goaltenders Luongo and Schneider traded recently. Linden likely recognizes Lack’s popularity.

    JB is probably unconvinced on Eddie Lack as a #1 and wants to sign another bridge-type contract. Markstrom has to be the goalie traded this summer. WD has rolled 4 lines, 3 D pairings, and 2 goalies. WD was unwilling to go to Markstrom down the stretch. For the sake of depth, it has to be Eddie Lack over Jacob Markstrom.

    • Dirty30

      “WD has rolled 4 lines, 3 D pairings, and 2 goalies. ”

      Desjardins never in his time with the Canucks “rolled … two goalies.” When Miller was healthy he played and Lack sat. When Miller wasn’t healthy Lack played and Markstrom sat. First Lack, then Markstrom were rarely used.

      Imo Desjardins isn’t a coach who wants to alternate goalies. His starter is his guy and the backup is only there for those rare occasions when Desjardins thinks the starter could use a rest.

      I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Benning move Lack for a 2nd. He’s committed to Miller, Miller’s contract makes him at best difficult to move and in the current market where quite a few goalies are available a 2nd is about what Benning should hope to get for Lack.

      I’ve considered this situation pretty much inevitable since the day Miller was signed, probably from having had higher expectations of some for Lack and Markstrom.

    • yvr_guy

      Lack has leverage for a pay raise while Markstrom does not. Miller is basically stuck here and the timeline of the Canucks current situation would only help Lack secure a bridge deal…something he probably doesn’t want. Would hate to see him go…but we can’t commit 6 million to Miller and 4 million to Lack. I’d take a 2nd round pick…Get rid of Bieksa and commit more money for a top 3/6 playmaker/scorer.

  • andyg

    The way they used their goalies after Miller’s injury was odd. Had they given Markstrom a few more games they’d have a better sense now of what they have in him at the NHL level. Additionally, it may have improved this trade value, which I suspect right now is pretty minimal.

    Instead, Lack looked gassed by the playoffs and they had to go to Miller in two must win games when he clearly wasn’t 100 percent.

    It seems curious they’d trade Lack now, when they were so reticent to play Markstrom over a two months stretch when it made all sorts of sense to get him into games.

  • andyg

    Garrioch is always suspect, and Eastern Canadians always buy papers that run down the Canucks and Vancouver in general.

    So, the report is dubious at best.

    Lack’s a great back-up. And he performed far, far better than I anticipated down the stretch this last season when Miller went down.

    But any player can be traded, it just depends what return is offered. He’s certainly not an untouchable.

    • andyg

      I would say that the report is less than dubious. First it is Garrioch who rarely gets anything right. Second it is another eastern hack who does not understand the West Coast. Third, I still think there is going to be a move of Miller. They brought him in because they did not know what they had in the three Swedes. Now they know and I think they will try and move Miller. I am so tired of the 2 cliches from the media. First, they showed how much they loved Miller over Lack by going to him in the last playoff game. They went to him because he was great the game before (could have pulled him when it was clear he was hurting but that is coach) and Lack was bagged. Second, their egos are too big to dump Miller. Ridiculous, these are professional guys and big ego has never been a sign of Benning or Linden. They brought him in because they were unsure about their young goalies and he was the best FA and they believed in him. They will try to move him if possible and I think Buffalo is a good shot. Finally, Garrioch just says they want to make room for Markstrom, I see nothing in the quote about Lack, maybe they want to dump Miller and his salary for a second round choice.

  • andyg

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Benning is shopping both Markstrom and Lack and will take the first deal involving a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Nothing new here to me.

  • andyg

    Loveable guys don’t sell tickets if the team sucks, I doubt if that is a factor in all of this. Miller is virtually unmoveable unless SJ or Buffalo get silly and Markstrom is unproven at an NHL level so that leaves Lack. This might stick to the wall but it is what it is. (who said that?) A second round pick would be nice though.

  • pheenster

    I can tell you 100% for certain that Garrioch makes stuff up. Don’t ask me how I know this, because I won’t say, but I can state with complete certainty that it’s true.

    All that said, I think that Lack has a less than 50% chance of playing in Vancouver next season. As stated above, Benning is an old school guy and just because someone is funny on Twitter isn’t a real good reason to keep him around; if Lack is the guy who can fetch the best return then he’s gone. Benning isn’t the guy who’ll feel the heat anyway if Lack is shipped out; Miller will be the guy in the fans’ crosshairs.

  • MM

    A second round pick goalie..that’s who you stake your future on?

    Well mind as well trade him since he’s never going to get any better and the Cancuks are never one to develop players anyways.

    Lack could win a cup in the future even if the chance may be slim to none but he sure as hell has no chance winning any cup with Vancouver, except maybe a Timmys roll up the rim to win cup.

  • MM

    Only one scenario makes any sense for a cap crunched team flosting a below average goalie. Dump Millers sorry ass even if it costs you a late rounder to get er done. Lack is. Learly ready for prime time and marky is clearly ready to be k him up! Use the 6$m to sign a UFA in the off season like Frandon.

    Whod you rather see in a Canuck uni next year miller or franson?!!

    • Dirty30

      You guys had no problem giving Luongo tens of millions when he couldn’t even get the job done and now you got a beef with Miller? Not saying miller is the next Roy but neither is Lack.

      And I don’t think Franson wants to wear a Canuck jersey anytime soon.

      • yvr_guy

        Yah, it’s called the iphone, big fingers and wee little board!

        My point is Miller is an average Goalie with a HUGE contract. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater, and dump Lack/Marky, when together, they cost 1/2 what Miller does.

        Lack is clearly ready for prime time, and Marky is ready to back him up.

        Miller is an albatross. Cut the fat out. Get rid of what doesnt work, and make room for younger while opening up Cap room at the same time.

        All this talk of trading Lack/Marky is the wrong option.

        • andyg

          Putting two young goalies together could be desasterous. That sounds like a rebuild. Plus I don’t think his contract is movable.

          If you haven’t watched any AHL games then you should. If Markstrom can bring his game to the NHL then moving him will be a big mistake. (IF)

          • andyg

            Miller and Markstrom plus whatever Lack will get you (and he is by far the most likely to get the closest to a hockey return for us) is the best we can hope for given Miller’s contract constraints and the risk of losing Markstrom who has regained his form for nothing.

            All the blathering on about how Markstrom’s sucked at the NHL level ignores the fact that most of that was on terrible Florida teams. The problem in Vancouver has been the total unwillingness of first Tortorella and then Desjardins to play him.

            I do hope that Desjardins learns something from Travis Green who has made Virtanen and Baertschi earn their spots but has seemed to bring out the best in our prospects while never coddling them. Green is likely going to get an NHL gig soon enough and he will deserve it.

        • andyg

          “My point is Miller is an average Goalie with a HUGE contract.”

          If that’s true it would mean that Luongo was an average goalie with the mother of all huge contracts. So huge even he said it sucked.

          Lack isn’t even the only problem here on the team. Your core is stale. Say it with me…stale.
          You can change the diaper all you want but there’s no point if you don’t wash the turd off the baby’s ass off first.

  • Dirty30

    One more time — if Benning wants a second round pick the dump that waste of time lawn mower he wasted a second round pick on — Linden ‘Ice Capades’ Vey.

    If Benning just wants to improve the goal tending situation then dump Miller anywhere he will go and either go with Markstrom or trade him and sign a decent back up for Lack.

    Benning got himself in this mess and is absolutely unwilling to see it or act on it appropriately.

    • Dirty30

      You had a decent back up by the name of Scheinder… BUT YOU TRADED HIM.

      And now you want to trade a starting goalie to get a back up goalie for a back up goalie.

      There’s no need for a punch line when your entire statement was a joke.

      Why don’t you trade away the twins for another set of wimpy useless twins? This goes to show that 2 minus 2 equals 4 in Canuckville.

      • Dirty30

        i didn’t trade Cory … And my point was that if Benning wants a second round pick he could get rid of Vey instead.

        Doesn’t change the goalie landscape but if all you got protecting your backside is Sbisa and Markstrom its gonna hurt in all the wrong places.

  • Dirty30

    If the Canucks really are trying to move Lack, Benning’s ego seems to be getting in his way.

    `I signed him, goll darnit, I believe in him and I really believe in me,’ would seem about right for Benning’s inner ruminations on this one.

    As for the author’s comment that Lack isn’t a long-term solution, I recall Lou L from the Devils asserting that the team was set in net for a long time after acquiring Cory S, who was about 27 at the time.

    I think we are good to run with Lack. If I’m Benning, I have the ducks and sharks on speed dial trying to offload Miller’s contract.

  • Dirty30

    Should the Canucks keep Lack because he is very popular and funny on Twitter? No.

    They should keep him because he is currently their best goalie.

    That being said, Miller is u moveable unless they retain some salary. Which is what they should do, but don’t seem intent on doing. Despite all the evidence and the eye test, they seem to believe Miller is the better goalie.

  • Dirty30

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. We signed Miller as a UFA without having to give up any assets. At this point, I would be happy to give him up for a bag of pucks and it would still cost us nothing (in the process freeing up his cap hit). And this is coming from someone that believes in asset management and buying low selling high… Unless of course it is managements way of taking the season for a better 2016 draft pick.

  • andyg

    This isn’t a shock. Lack is the goalie that’ll get you the best return.

    Markstrom may be awesome next year but he hasn’t proved anything at the NHL level. You won’t get much of a return for him.

    Miller, for some stupid reason, was paid more than he should have been AND was given a partial NTC. Odd move there. Regardless, he isn’t going to be easy to move. Plus, he’s a solid, veteran presence that still is a #1 on most teams.

    That leaves Lack. I like Eddie but he isn’t a franchise goalie. He’s the easiest to move and will get you something in return. A second for him is fair. Get it done.

  • andyg

    What I am waiting to see is if Benning makes more changes then moving a goalie. His statement that he was mad about getting booted in the first round makes me wonder if there may be more than one move.

    I just hope he stays mad from now through the draft and into the summer.

  • yvr_guy

    The five worst teams at scoring this past season were Buffalo, Arizona, NJ, Carolina and Edmonton.

    With both Miller and Lack in the lineup the Canucks played 11 games against these teams.

    Anyone care to guess how many of these games Miller started?


    …nope, guess again.

    That’s right, 10 out of the 11.

    Bonus fact: 4 of his 6 shutouts were against these teams.

    Anyone want to normalize his save percentage over a standard schedule?

  • yvr_guy

    The Canucks seem to get beat up in most trades because their assets are undervalued by other teams. In other words we dont get full market value for our players in trades. A second rounder for Lack is not enough. There are 3 or 4 teams that would trade for Miller if Nucks sweetened the deal and carried $1million/year of his salary. Possible to get a first rounder by throwing in Linden Vey with Miller in a trade.

  • yvr_guy

    I see the Canucks want to return to the years of mediocrity. Never bad enough to get a really great low draft pick…never good enough to win more than one round in the playoffs. Hope…and less.

    When the Edmonchuk McOildavids pass the Nux by, just kill me.


    Ed’s Hatoum

  • andyg

    I’m a goal tender,56 years old,with MS now,but I played 21 years of hockey and 23 of lacrosse. Having said that,I have watch the Canucks for 43 years and seen some pretty amazzing, and some pretty amazingly bad,goalies go through. Eddie Lack SHOULD be the #1 after next year unless Ryan Miller comes through in a major way and gets the team a lot closer to the cup than they’ve been since 2011. Eddie is awesome and getting even better, Miller is only just better than average. In my opinion, Miller is more like Dan Cloutier than Kirk McLean,and I hope this story is just that,a story.