It’s always great when a coach gets brutally honest — and Carolina coach Bill Peters was definitely brutally honest when discussing the play of backup goalie Eddie Lack.
There’s no question that goaltending has been an issue for the Hurricanes this season. Despite boasting one of the best young cores of blueliners in the NHL, Carolina’s team save percentage ranks 26th in the league at .897. Cam Ward, who was brought back this season on a two-year deal, has taken on more of the workload than the team expected coming into this season, playing in 49 games with a .905 save percentage.
It was hoped that backup Lack, who played 34 games last season and posted a .901 save percentage, would at least be able to give the team that base level of play — or perhaps move back towards the 41 games and .912-.921 save percentage range he had in his last two seasons with the Canucks.
Instead, it’s been a nightmare season for Lack, who has played in just 10 games and has a miserable .873 save percentage. Peters was asked if there was a competition brewing in the crease between the two netminders, which gave the coach a chance to sound off on his goalie’s lacklustre play.
“The one guy’s played 10 games. Eddie’s played 10 games and was poor in his last outing, let’s not kid ourselves. There was 16 shots, four went in. Not good enough. You look at his numbers in the league they’re not good enough.”
Peters continued: “I don’t think it’s much of a competition. I think we’ve got a guy who’s well ahead of the other guy. That’s what I see and the numbers back that up. So when he gets in again he better play. He better earn some respect from your teammates. Your teammates are out there working their bag off, you better get some saves. And a timely save at the right time wouldn’t hurt.
“That’s a little bit honest, eh?”
Lack, indeed, has been atrocious this season. If you take a look at the save percentage leaders in the NHL for goalies who have played at least 10 games, Lack comes in dead last. Peters certainly noticed that, and finished his great answer citing that stat.
“It’s honest, I just looked it up. You look up any goalie that’s played 10 games in the National Hockey League in the top 60 in save percentage, I know who’s 60. There’s 30 teams. Not good enough.”
Lack and Ward are both signed through next season for a combined $6.05 million against the salary cap. It’s fair to say Lack will be the one exposed to the Vegas Golden Knights at the expansion draft, who probably won’t take him anyway. That leaves Carolina in a very Dallas Stars-esque situation — holding two goalies who both aren’t capable of being No. 1s.
Carolina still holds favourable possession numbers, sitting fourth in the league in corsi for percentage behind Boston, Los Angeles and Montreal. They were rumoured to be tied to Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog in the lead up to the trade deadline, but ultimately weren’t in a position to be buyers yet. But you get the sense that with all the young blueliners they have, and with a need for scoring up front, a move is on the way.
But something still needs to be done about this goaltending. And if Peters’ words aren’t enough to get Lack back on track, his future with the NHL squad is fairly up in the air.