The acquisition of Ben Scrivens for Zack Kassian has not been met with a lot of support. Some wanted Kassian to get a shot with Montreal while others just don’t trust Scrivens. Do our writers feel the same way or are they in favour of the deal?
Gordon Black: This is, once again, proof that GM Marc Bergevin has both skill and a plan (or a very wide array of compromising photos). This trade has the potential to provide three major benefits for the Habs moving forward.
- They are moving forward! The time for second-chances has passed, and although I sincerely hope Zack pulls it together at some point – it was not going to be in Montreal. Playing him or even allowing him to feel he is still part of the organization sends the wrong message to those who show up, sacrifice and try hard, set a good example, and put their teammates’ needs ahead of their own.
- He will actually play! Scrivens was, and still may be, a very good goalie. In L.A. he was, at times, brilliant to the point where many assumed he was a sure fire #1 in the making. It is possible that on a Montreal team that can play solid defence (at times), he may rebound to his earlier form and have…
- Trade Value! If he works out, then either he or Mike Condon become a trade chip for Bergevin at the deadline. Either for a pick or as a piece in a larger deal, the return of Price will mean that the Habs will be able to help a team that lacks solid backup depth for the playoffs and it won’t cost them a needed asset.
All in all, this is yet another win for Bergevin who has a propensity for these zero-risk type trades that have the potential to work out quite well in the long run. If nothing else, the trade has solidified the goaltending situation until Price’s return and has the added bonus of getting rid of a potentially distracting situation at the same time.
Brian La Rose: The Habs have a lot of issues right now. While this deal doesn’t address the big one, it’s still something that helps the team in the short-term. And when you consider that it was clear Kassian had no future in Montreal and the fact that he cleared waivers, getting something of even short-term value is okay. No, Scrivens isn’t a scorer but instead of lamenting that fact, keep in mind that GM’s can talk to team about trying to fix multiple issues at the same time; this deal is in no way an implication that Bergevin is content with the offence as a lot of people seem to allege for some reason.
While Scrivens is an upgrade over Dustin Tokarski in terms of his on-ice play, I’m tempted to think his biggest boost will be on the mental side of things. With the way that Tokarski struggled the last year or so, simply getting another player in there should make a lot of the players a lot more comfortable and give them a bit of confidence.
The biggest beneficiary though should be Mike Condon, as strange as that may seem. Now, he doesn’t have to almost entirely shoulder the load; Scrivens is certainly capable of playing four out of every ten games. When you consider that Condon is playing on average about eight of every nine games lately, that’s going to be a big break for him both mentally and physically.
Scrivens may only be around until Carey Price comes back and he may only win a couple of games between now and then but the way they’re going, every point is going to count. And if Condon having less pressure helps him get back closer to his early season form, this deal will be worth it.
Alex Létourneau: I’m stunned that Kassian was even tradeable. It’s hard to understand what the deal is with him because no one’s in his shoes, but to get any return from a self-destructive player who seems to be trying to turn it around is commendable, and frankly unexpected.
Scrivens is an immediate upgrade to Tokarski, who has been regressing ever since that playoff series against New York. Look no further than Scrivens’ first game for the Habs against Florida where I’d be surprised to hear anyone suggest Tokarski would’ve handled that first period – or entire game for that matter – better than Scrivens. The bottom line is Bergevin made a move that will help the team now with a player that may or may not play in the NHL again. Granted he’s covering a mistake, but still, you have to say that Bergevin manoeuvered his way out of it fairly well.
Paul MacLeod: Well, I am feeling a little bit undecided on this deal. One the one hand, I am disappointed that a) Kassian never played for the Habs; b) that Kassian didn’t have a chance to find his game, and perhaps his path in life, in St. John’s and c) that all they got back for him was an AHL goalie deemed not good enough to play for the Oilers. (However, given the Oilers propensity for misjudging/devaluing/ ruining players, that last point may not be relevant.)
On the other hand, Bergevin once again waved his magic wand and made a gamble turned problem disappear just as he did with Bourque, Briere, Parenteau, and Semin. Given Kassian’s history, any deal that gets him off the books might be a good one. With the Oilers retaining salary Scrivens has approximately the same cap hit as Kassian would have so the team gets a veteran back-up goalie for free. As a pending free agent Scrivens is gone at the end of the season unless he impresses enough to supplant Condon as the backup so there is no risk in this deal.
All in all, once again I am left admiring Bergevin’s ability to wiggle out of a problem while lamenting that Kassian will not fulfill his potential in a Habs uniform – perhaps he never will, but I wish him well. On to plan D for a right wing scorer.
Craig Scharien: I was rather excited when Marc Bergevin surprised everyone and flipped Brandon Prust for Zack Kassian in the off-season. Like many, I felt he had some untapped offensive potential but, as has been well documented, off ice issues meant he never got the chance with the Canadiens. As much as I would have liked to see what Kassian had to offer the Habs, I find it hard to complain about this deal. Barring a miracle Kassian would have never returned to the Canadiens, as he clearly doesn’t fit the character-based model Bergevin and company are looking for. So rather than send a potentially damaging influence to play with the kids in St. John’s it was best to send the young forward packing.
The addition of Scrivens, while far from mind-blowing, gives the Habs more depth in goal throughout the organization without a big commitment. He’s relatively cheap and a UFA at the end of the season, and has the ability to have strong outings – such as the Oilers’ record 59 save shutout of the Sharks in 2014. In addition he can bring a little competition and push Condon
Perhaps the most important part of the deal is Bergevin’s ability to once again find a way to improve his club in a tough situation. By dealing Kassian, the club removed a potential problem from the organization and at the same time acquired an asset that can help out in the short term.
Norm Szcyrek: This trade must have been in the works before the Christmas trade freeze took place, considering it was announced about seven minutes after the freeze was lifted. There were rumours the team was trying to make a bigger trade also. Given that Kassian’s trade value (to Montreal) was less than zero, it’s somewhat impressive Montreal was able to move him for anyone. The contract values work out to be equivalent with Edmonton taking on some of Scrivens’ salary. Now that I’ve seen Ben play a game for Montreal I have to say he looks better than Dustin Tokarski. However, Scrivens remains a backup goalie at best, and no one should expect him to lead this team into the playoffs, assuming the Habs can get out of their slump and make it to the playoffs.