Goalies are hard to project at the NHL level, and the Habs' issues lie more in scoring than goaltending at the moment. But there are a few reasons why Ben Scrivens could give the Canadiens' season a little boost.
Data tells a story, and we can learn a few things by comparing Scrivens' career (2011-2015) to those of some other NHL netminders. (Stats from War-On-Ice)
Reimer has taken over the starting job for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and would have cost far more to acquire than Scrivens. However, we can't forget that he has lost his No. 1 position several times since breaking into the league. Looking at adjusted save percentage, we can't even conclusively say that Reimer is better than Scrivens before the latter joined the Edmonton Oilers in January 2014.
The Habs picked up Devan Dubnyk on waivers in March 2014 after he was discarded by the Oilers, and then the Nashville Predators. He had lost his confidence, and family matters finally led him to leave the Habs without him playing a single game for Montreal. The next season, he found his bearings with the Arizona Coyotes, usurped Mike Smith, and then led the Minnesota Wild to the playoffs with 39 consecutive starts.
Peter Budaj was a reliable back-up in Montreal, but, objectively speaking, Scrivens is definitely a better goaltender. It is interesting to note that, like Scrivens, Budaj did not perform well when first demoted to the AHL. After losing his backup job to Dustin Tokarski in 2014, Budaj went 0-9-6 with a .888 save pecentage. This year, with the Los Angeles Kings' AHL affiliate, he his 15-4-2 with a sparkling .935 sv%. As with Dubnyk's turnaround, these things just happen sometimes.
Tokarski, who has provided the Habs with adequate performances as a backup to Price, has a smaller cap hit than Scrivens, but only been average in limited action.
Statistically speaking, Price is the only goaltender in this group who has consistently been better than Scrivens. And that's the point of the exercise - finding an above-average solution in nets so that Price can take his time before returning to play.
If Scrivens can wipe his mind of his previous 300 hours on the ice, then he will be able to make a significant contribution to the Montreal Canadiens.
Jack Han is the Video & Analytics Coordinator for the McGill Martlet Hockey team. He also writes occasionally about the NHL for Habs Eyes on the Prize. You can find him on Twitter or on the ice at McConnell Arena.