First to move was Eddie Lack of the Vancouver Canucks. The netminder was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a pick in the third round of this draft (the 66th overall pick) and a seventh round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
This will admittedly be a hard sell for many Canucks fans, who’ve seen their fair city become a goalie graveyard for ages now. But most observers always knew Ryan Miller was going to be the guy management sided with, so it was really only a matter of time before one of the backups was moved.
Team president Trevor Linden addressed the move, too, rightly noting it as a “difficult day” for many fans. “We talked about the circle of life. Getting younger. And one of the ways we were going to do that was through the draft,” he said.
The trouble here is likely to be the return, which is next to nothing. The 27-year-old Lack has just 82 games of experience in the NHL, sure, but he’s a team player and he’s got personality in spades. That personality has been enough to put him over in the Vancouver fanbase.
After all, Lack has often had to be The Man on the Canucks and he’d held up to the pressure well. He has a 34-30 record over the past two seasons, with a .917 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average.
Still, Lack was set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and general manager Jim Benning was adamant that he was moving one Swede or the other. In the end, Jacob Markstrom won out and will be the backup in the approaching season.
And Lack is off to Carolina, which obviously meant that Carolina had to do something with their horde of goalies.
Luckily, they found a trade with Anaheim and sent Anton Khudobin to the Ducks in exchange for defenceman James Wisniewski. This was essentially a salary dump deal for the Ducks, who get rid of Wisniewski’s two year deal worth $5.5 million and land a more affordable contract.
So things have balanced out, kind of. The Canucks are still left with a fanbase with next to no confidence in the current method, but that may pass over time. And they’re left with Miller and Markstrom, like it or not, for the foreseeable future.