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Scrivens a Saviour?

Posted 3:05 PM ET | Comments 0
Hockey fans who fancy fantasy leagues or the L.A. Kings may have found a place in their hearts for a new goaltender. Ben Scrivens has been stellar since arriving in California, starting in only 6 games but allowing only 9 goals. He has been very impressive, recording 3 shutouts so far this season. This is tremendous news for Kings fans, as Jonathan Quick is expected to return around Christmas. If Ben Scrivens had looked shaky so far, Kings fans likely would have been quite nervous. Going over a month without their star goaltender would have been frightening, and with a poor performance from Scrivens they would likely surrender their current playoff birth. Luckily for them, Ben Scrivens has answered the call consistently and effectively.Fantasy League fanatics have also taken notice. As of the writing of this article, Scrivens is owned in more TSN fantasy leagues than former teammate, James Reimer. Reimer's play has also been excellent, but with Scrivens being virtually L.A.'s only option between the pipes, he will get more playing time than his old friend. Currently, Reimer is owned in 85.2% of leagues, while Scrivens is owned in 96.2%. With L.A.'s current success, Scrivens is worth owning. He will collect a lot of wins over the next month, thanks to the strong play of himself and his teammates. As astonishing as it may sound, he may even push Jonathan Quick for playing time when he becomes available. If Scrivens can keep the quality of his game up, L.A. may be more inclined to ease Quick back into the starting role, to gradually get his skills back up to full strength. If Scrivens can continue playing well, it may provide coach Darryl Sutter with enough reasons to play him more frequently. It never hurts to keep the backup warm. Toronto may never regret the decision to trade Ben Scrivens, but it is possible they may someday soon. Upon trading Matt Frattin, Ben Scrivens, and a second round pick to L.A. For Jonathan Bernier, Toronto also had to retain a portion of the former Leafs' salaries. Toronto retained $500 000 from the two collectively. They also had to sign Jonathan Bernier to a $2.9 Million per season deal. If Toronto had kept Frattin and Scrivens, they would have had to pay Scrivens $600 000 this season and next, and Matt Frattin $875 000 for this season. They would have saved $1.925 Million this season alone. Now this may not seem like a lot of money, but it may turn out to be. It could be argued that Reimer and Scrivens could have handled the workload in Toronto without Bernier, at just a fraction of the cost. Some might say that the sample size is too small, but both Reimer and Scrivens posted impressive numbers this year and last, numbers that are comparable and even in some cases better than Bernier's. If Scrivens' play keeps up, and Frattin or the second round pick become successful NHL players, it may very well turn out that Toronto lost this trade. Both Reimer and Bernier have the potential to be NHL starters. Currently, the Leafs are favouring Bernier. If the continue to do so, James Reimer could refuse to sign a contract this summer and make a trade request, which would put Toronto in a sticky situation. Not only would the Leafs not have Reimer, Frattin, or Scrivens, but they would not have a dependable backup for Bernier. Some would argue they could find a fix through free agency, but due to the extra cap hit Toronto has experienced for bringing in Bernier, it may not be possible. Toronto has almost no cap space currently, and with the signing of Phil Kessel there will not be much money to spare. Toronto has many players becoming free agents, so it will not be possible to bring them all back, and it would be difficult to bring in another goaltender. Toronto's upcoming Free Agents are as follows: Dion Phaneuf, Mark Fraser, Cody Franson, James Reimer, Dave Bolland, Nikolai Kulemin, Jay McClement, Mason Raymond, Peter Holland, Trevor Smith, Jerred Smithson, Paul Ranger, and Jake Gardiner. When we consider how almost all of these players are in for a hefty pay raise, and Toronto cannot afford to let many of these players walk, we see a potential problem in Leaf Nation. Toronto has known for a while that this summer was coming, and there would be a slur of Free Agents needing to be signed. They also knew the potential of both Ben Scrivens and Matt Frattin, the latter of which was Toronto's leading scorer for a short time during the 2012-2013 campaign. There is no denying that Toronto received an excellent goalie in this trade. However, Toronto has been very weak defensively, and very strong from a goaltending standpoint recently. It begs the question, was Jonathan Bernier the solution to the problems in Leafland? It is very possible that acquiring a star goalie in Jonathan Bernier could turn out to be a mistake that haunts the Buds for years to come. Let's hope the Leafs find a way to avoid the potential ramifications of this deal.
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