Ben Scrivens: The Wild Card of the Bernier Trade
Arguably the main reason why Kings fans were so reluctant to see their team part ways with Jonathan Bernier was because once he’d leave town, a viable backup to Jonathan Quick would have been a challenge to find. According to many, the goaltenders that are in the Los Angeles system – like Martin Jones and Jean-Francois Berube – are not quite ready to make the jump to the big league. While the Kings did acquire Matt Frattin in the deal that sent Jonathan Bernier to Toronto, the Kings also received a netminder to fill Bernier’s spot in Southern California.
In Scrivens, the Kings pick up a netminder who has NHL experience under his belt, thus can fill in nicely in the backup spot behind Quick.
After a 12-game stint with the Leafs in 2011-12, the 26-year-old backstop was called up for good this past season where he appeared in 20 games for the Leafs amassing a record of 7-9-0 with a 2.96 goals-against average and while those numbers don’t exactly scream success, Scrivens’s ability to play well in the pressure-cooker that is Toronto should speak wonders for what the Spruce Grove, Alberta, native is capable of.
Undrafted, Ben Scrivens was a free-agent signing by then-Leafs’ GM Brian Burke who has appeared to follow the same route as Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi in terms of patiently developing players in the minor-league system before calling them up to the big club at an appropriate time. Unlike Justin Pogge, Ben Scrivens proved reliable for the Leafs. While he was never likely to beat out James Reimer for the starting spot, Scrivens provided much-needed relief en route to the team’s first playoff appearance since 2004. It may not seem like much but this past spring, albeit a brief visit, Scrivens helped guide the Leafs somewhere that Vesa Toskala, Andrew Raycroft or even Jean-Sebastien Aubin have never been while donning the blue-and-white.
On the surface, it is logical to believe that if Ben Scrivens can play well in an unforgiving hockey hotbed, he can surely play that well – if not better – in Los Angeles where hockey isn’t quite the front-page story it is in Toronto.
While I believe this trade benefits both sides, there are still plenty of fans from both sides who are still trying to get adjusted to the move. At 6’2, 192 pounds, Scrivens is certainly a good size and set to turn 27 in September, he is just months younger than his new partner-in-crime, Jonathan Quick. Of course, Scrivens must also realize that barring unforeseen circumstances, his chances of being the number-ohne netminder in Los Angeles is slim-to-none given Quick’s recent success not to mention his decade-long contract.
I won’t say that the backup job will automatically go to Ben Scrivens but I will say that the Kings did pick up a bona fide netminder to replace Bernier who has just enough big-league experience to shake of the cobwebs so to speak and commence his tour of duty in Los Angeles on a positive note.