It’s easy to forget that Ben Scrivens began life in the hinterland with a very strong run as the Edmonton Oilers No. 1 goalie. In 2013-14, after coming over from Los Angeles, Scrivens was golden in net for the town team. History tells us when a goalie’s performance goes off the grid, the possible causes (age, loss of limbs or trunk, concussion) include random acts of horrible and (I believe) shell shock is a real thing—in war and in net. “Regress to the mean” is a thing too, and if you’re a Ben Scrivens fan—and I am one—light a candle and say a prayer to the God you pray to for a return to normal. Redemption is beautiful, in real life and in sport.
RE 13-14 BEN SCRIVENS (OILERS)
- GP: 21
- GAA: 3.01
- SP: .916
- EV SP: .922
RE 14-15 BEN SCRIVENS
- GP: 57
- GAA: 3.16
- SP: .890
- EV SP: .897
BEN SCRIVENS 2015-16: 19GP, 2.95 .902
- Looks like you split things down the middle. Not quite, but I think it’s reasonable to assume both a recovery and something less than his 2013-14 season. The numbers here reflect that.
- It’s like you just made these numbers up. (Pause).
- How many goalies to go? One more.
- Do you want to talk about Scrivens’ 14-15 season? Man. I don’t know. It’s like Ray Milland in Lost Weekend. Seriously. And I really think Ben Scrivens is a good guy so have no desire to rip on him.
- What the hell happened? I think he was hit by some kind of spell behind his own net in game one against Calgary. It was awful, just awful and it’s absolutely certain the start of the season took its toll. I honestly don’t think he ever recovered.
- Seriously. What happened? Well, he wasn’t good, Don. I mean we could blame apple cobbler or the moon or Dallas Eakins (a lot of people blame Dallas Eakins) but the goalie didn’t goal and that’s a bad thing.
- He had a good resume before the acquisition? Yes. Scrivens’ four seasons of college featured good SP’s (.911, .930, .931, .934) after year one and he had some interesting postings in the minors. Reading (ECHL) for 13 games (.938) followed by parts of three seasons with the Marlies (.924, .926, .917). That’s some consistent goaltending average to quality numbers.
- You liked the Scrivens signing. Yes. I said (here) “Scrivens worked hard to get himself into this position, and has been rewarded for it with a contract and a number one job. If it doesn’t work out, it’s still a good bet. This is an experienced goaltender by age, and his performances in the NHL so far indicate quality.” Source
- Isn’t that pretty much what you said yesterday about Cam Talbot? Yes.
- (Pause). Scrivens had one good year (Edmonton traded for him) and the other seasons were poor compared to the rest of the league in terms of adjusted save percentage (link is to Darcy McLeod article).
- Okay, let’s move on. Thank God.
- Oilers are fully behind him, right? Well…..
- Well what? He’s still here! Sure. However, the Oilers acquired Anders Nilsson and that’s absolutely an indication they want real competition for the backup role.
- Scrivens improved over the season, though. Actually, he didn’t. His one good month was February (.922SP) but in four April games he was ghastly (.800SP). Source.
- So he stumbled. Ah, I think it was “everyone is auditioning for a job next year” time and Ben Scrivens wasn’t doing well. Remember, Laurent Brossoit was called up for a game and shot lights out. Meanwhile the gent who was hired to start fumbled and bumbled.
- Again I ask: What the hell happened? I believe (and this isn’t anything to do with analytics or math) there’s a group of goalies in NHL history we can call the “Gilles Meloche All-Stars” and they’re a bunch of good goalies who saw so much rubber it derailed them. Seriously.
- Shell shock? Yeah, shell shock. Scrivens’ resume suggests he should be fine, rebound and go on to a fine career. The best thing for him is probably another town, and I do think he might get that new town before Christmas.
- Seriously? The new GM has no loyalty to him, the new coach either. Cam Talbot is the new hero, dressed in white and arriving in Dodge City on horseback any minute now.
- What are the odds Scrivens is here after the deadline? 20%. That’s a guess of course but it isn’t high. It would be lower but I have faith that the young man can rebound and post a solid number for Edmonton in a backup role.
- So he’s better suited to backup? I’ve never really bought into the idea that a goalie is a starter or backup. NHL history has lots of backups who’ve emerged and exceeded expectations, Dwayne Roloson being one.
- What are the odds he’ll be an NHL starter again someday? I’ll say 40%. Ben Scrivens had a nice run there and I do think NHL GM’s are fully aware the team he backstopped was addled in many ways.
- Was there a time he could have saved his job? Before Dallas Eakins was fired last season, Edmonton’s possession numbers were pretty good, not great. The goaling failed them, just awful bad, and at that point I think Ben Scrivens could have saved his starting job and the coach’s job too. It’s not a very nice thing to say now, makes him look bad. That isn’t my intent, but I do believe that to be true.
- Why did this happen? You pay a man to do a job and he doesn’t do it. There’s no mystery here.
- Was he too closely aligned to Dallas Eakins? I have no idea.
- Will that close relationship hamper his future with the Oilers? IF Ben Scrivens was too closely aligned to Dallas Eakins it might be an issue but if he goes out and plays like he did in 2013-14 those issues wash away.
- Scrivens is a good person. All that we can know from the outside suggests he’s a very fine man. He and Jenny Scrivens came to our city and jumped right in, helping out and making a difference. We’re a northern town and we notice if people turn their noses, and we notice when they work in making themselves part of us. Whatever happens this fall and winter, the Scrivens’ have my respect and I do think there are others who feel the same way.
- But you have to stop the puck. I believe he will recover, don’t know if it’s enough to get another contract from the Oilers. Suspect he’s playing for 29 other teams this fall and it’s likely only a matter of time. Gives me no joy in stating it.
- Why this song? It’s about bad things that can happen on the way to a happy ending. It’s about relationships of youth that end too soon for reasons great and small. It’s about death and healing and it’s about regrets and the best of us sometimes slipping through our fingers. It’s a phenomenal song about a lost love and sad, maddening endings.