The Vancouver Canucks have signed goaltender Eddie Lack to two-year contract extension worth $2.3 million and a cap hit of $1.15 million.
The signing was announced on Friday by the team. He will make $1 million in the first season and $1.3 million in the second.
It is some big money and commitment for a player that has five games and 274 minutes of NHL experience, but Lack could have become a Group 6 unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2014.
A Group 6 unrestricted free agent is a player with an expiring contract who meets the following criteria:
1. Aged 25 or older (as of June 30 prior to the opening of the free agency period).
2. Has completed three or more professional seasons under NHL contract. A professional season is defined as 11 or more regular season or playoff games at ages 18 or 19 and one or more regular season and/or playoff game at ages 20 and older.
3. Has played in fewer than 80 games as a skater or 28 games as a goaltender (minimum of 30 minutes).
Lack is going to be 26 years old on June 30 and is in his fourth season as a professional. He has played in five games so far this season and is on pace for 20 games played.
Unless starting goaltender Roberto Luongo went down with an injury for a period of time, there wasn’t a chance Lack would play 28 games this season. It was evident he wasn’t going to play enough to become a Group 2 restricted free agent.
Ideally, the Canucks probably would have wanted to see a larger body of work from him and sign him to a deal that Cory Schneider got in 2010—two years at $900,000 a season.
However, there was urgency to get a deal done on the Canucks end. Lack could have left the team and would have received no return for the soon-to-be four seasons they have spent developing him.
It’s not that great of a job playing as the backup to Luongo and it must have been a hard sell for Lack to extend his contract.
You can bet the Canucks told Lack during negotiations that even though Luongo is the team’s number one, there is a chance you can become the starter. Just look at Schneider. The money’s not too shabby backing up Luongo either.