2013-14 Preview: If He Can Play Well in Toronto, Ben Scrivens Can Play Well Anywhere, Especially Los Angeles
When the Los Angeles Kings parted ways with Jonathan Bernier, they knew they were sending a starting netminder to a team where he would have a much better shot to be the No. 1 man in between the pipes. In the trade that sent Bernier to Toronto, the Kings received two players in return: forward Matt Frattin and goaltender Ben Scrivens.
We already discussed Frattin so now it’s time to cover some ground on Scrivens.
While he’s only played in 42 regular season games in the NHL dating back to the 2011-12 season, Ben Scrivens, who just turned 27 yesterday, went 7-9-0 last season with a 2.69 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.
Now while those aren’t exactly numbers to write home about, it is fair to consider that the Leafs finished 27th overall last season in shots against with 32.3. The Kings were literally on the other side of the spectrum finishing third in said category allowing a paltry average of 25.0 shots per contest.
While James Riemer had the brunt of the load in Toronto last season, Scrivens filled in admirably when the one they call “Optimus Reim” went down with an injury. Scriven’s contributions helped the Leafs make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
With his mediocre numbers last season, it is understandable as to why the jury is still out in Los Angeles on the Cornell alum. But it is important to realize that, like the Kings, the Leafs had a carousel of netminders, many with a plethora of promise, who just couldn’t take the pressure of competing in the hockey media hotbed that is Toronto. Goaltenders like Justin Pogge, Vesa Toskala, Andrew Raycroft, Mikael Tellqvist, Scott Clemmensen and Jean-Sebastien Aubin (remember him?) just didn’t have what it took to play for the Leafs. Ben Scrivens did and what’s great for him about his arrival to Los Angeles is that he won’t be expected to be the starter thanks to Jonathan Quick. While he may like to be the number-one guy between the Kings pipes, it won’t be a case like Mathieu Garon’s a few years back where he went from being a reliable backup in Montreal to being thrown into the fire in Los Angeles – and we all know how that turned out.
Overall, I’m excited about Ben Scrivens being a member of the Kings. While I can’t say enough good things about those netminders waiting in the wings like Martin Jones and Jean-Francois Berube, I know from watching him first-hand play in the pressure-cooker of Toronto that Ben Scrivens has what it takes to support Jonathan Quick whether it’s for a night off, a bad night or (let’s hope not) an injury.
As far as I’m concerned, if a netminder can play well in Toronto, he can play well anywhere. Fans of the Los Angeles Kings, meet Ben Scrivens.