This year’s edition of the great Canucks goalie controversy looks like it may be soon coming to an end.
With Ryan Miller, Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom all under contract next season, GM Jim Benning will need to move one of his netminders or risk losing one for nothing.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman had this tidbit of information in his 30 Thoughts article today:
After their scouting meetings, Benning was willing to say two things: First, Ryan Miller is not the one being traded. Second, while he is looking to get a second-round draft pick for the one he traded earlier, “We are also looking to make hockey trades.” So, if it is Eddie Lack, for example, it’s not guaranteed to be Lack for a pick. Possible, but not a lock.
Jim Benning has shown himself to be quite open and honest with the media in his time in Vancouver, so I think we can read a lot into these comments.
With two years left on a contract that pays him $6 million per season, Ryan Miller is the most expensive Canucks goalie. He is also the hardest to move, given that he has a limited no-trade clause. It isn’t clear is if the Canucks are choosing to keep Miller because they believe he is their best goalie, or because he is impossible to move.
The lovable Eddie Lack is clearly the most popular of the three goalies with fans, and last year he was their best bet between the pipes. With one year left on a deal that carries a $1.15 million cap hit, the 27-year-old would be coveted by a few teams looking for a number one goalie. The price for Lack is said to be a second round draft pick.
Jacob Markstrom had a spectacular season in the AHL and is showing every sign that he is ready to be an NHL regular. At age 25, Markstrom could still fulfill his potential and become a starting goalie one day, but that’s far from a guarantee.
Many goalies have excelled in the AHL, but failed to become a starting goalie in the NHL. Jason Labarbera had an AHL save percentage of .936 as a 24-year-old, for example.
So the decision for Benning will be between Lack and Markstrom. It looks like Lack will be the Canucks goalie on the move, unless they can get decent value for Markstrom.
Buffalo, Edmonton and San Jose are all looking for new starting goalies and may have interest in Lack, but their offers may be underwhelming given the nature of the goalie market. Markstrom could be of interest for a team that wants a young backup that could possibly take over the number one job in a year or two.
Markstrom was passed over by every NHL GM when he was put on waivers last September, but undoubtedly his stock has risen since then. Just how much it has risen will likely decide the fate of Eddie Lack in Vancouver.