We don't often catch wind of a Montreal Canadiens trade before it happens, but this was one of the very rare times that Marc Bergevin didn't surprise us. Some of Hockey Twitter's big names broke the news yesterday of a potential Kassian for Scrivens trade, which is precisely what was finalized this morning. There seems to be about a 50/50 split between Habs fans as to whether or not this was a decent acquisition, and though I am a bit surprised by it, I think bringing on Ben Scrivens was a good call.
Kassian wasn't going to suit up for Montreal
Let's be honest here, following the incident in September, it was pretty obvious that the Montreal Canadiens had no real interest in working with Zak Kassian. I am not defending his decisions, but do applaud him for taking the initiative to seek the help he needed. I wish him all the best. Shopping Kassian allowed Montreal to remove a player who would not be seeing ice time in order to gain one who most definitely will.
Condon won't get burnt out
I am not going to sit here and state that Scrivens has excellent numbers - but I also won't put all of that on him. He's played for an organization that has been 'rebuilding' for years. Pre-Edmonton, his numbers were good, averaging a .916 sv% in 51 games. His numbers have not been stellar this season with Edmonton and in the AHL with Bakersfield - but both of these teams have major struggles so it's a bit unfair to put it all on Scrivens.
In total, Scrivens has played 129 NHL games, giving him quite a bit more experience than both Dustin Tokarski and Mike Condon combined. As Marc mentioned, Scriven's experience will be enhanced by working with goaltending coach Stephane Waite. Perhaps more importantly, it allows Condon to share the responsibilities with someone who can once again provide a bit of guidance seeing as Carey Price will likely still be out for a number of weeks.
Scrivens provides leadership and some positivity in the locker room
Ben Scrivens is a damn good guy. A lot of fans are simply looking at his stats this season and jumping to conclusions. Let's talk a little bit about some off-ice importance that Scrivens brings to the table.
|Habs' Lost Leadership|
|This Season (Injured)||
The Habs locker room has lost a lot of veteran guys over the past season and a lot of lost leaders. This season, with Price and Gally (now Gilbert) injured, the leadership situation has taken an even bigger blow. This has put a ton of added pressure on guys like Max Pacioretty, PK Subban, Tomas Plekanec, and Andrei Markov - all of whom have been relatively quiet in the scoring department as of late. It's been hard to watch. Subban has the most points of all four players in his last five games. How many, you ask? Three. Only Plekanec has scored in the past five games.
I am not putting all of this down to lost leadership in the locker room, but it is a big issue. We were fortunate last season to have so many leaders on the team. While we still have a great core of guys taking leadership roles this season, losing Price and Gally is a big deal. Bringing on a 'young-veteran' player who has such a positive mindset (and is receiving a fresh, new start) is only going to benefit the locker room atmosphere.
Habs fans are notoriously hard on their goaltenders and I hope that Scrivens is up to the challenge of winning over the fan base. With a strong team in front of him, which I honestly believe Montreal is, Scrivens could prove to be an excellent addition in the interim as we wait (semi) patiently for Price to return.