In a hockey world where the Flyers sign Steve Mason to a three-year, $12.3 million contract after just 40-odd games with the organization, Ben Scrivens’ brand new two-year, $4.6-million contract with the Oilers doesn’t seem like a terrible gamble.
For the most part, it isn’t: although he’s only been a member of the team since the Kings dealt him there in mid-January, Scrivens is a solid fit at a relatively low cost. The 27-year-old’s individual numbers as an Oiler (including a 2.15 goals-against average and .940 save percentage) have been phenomenal and he’s assimilated into a dressing room that includes fellow goalie and noted oddball Ilya Bryzgalov without any problems. His earned status as a solid citizen will carry into next season regardless of whom management brings in to challenge him for the starting role.
That’s important to note in the wake of Scrivens’ new deal: it doesn’t anoint him as the guaranteed No. 1, but it does provide him with enough security to push himself the rest of this year and into the off-season to keep reaching for the prize. If he doesn’t assert himself as the starter between now and the summer of 2016, Oilers GM Craig MacTavish isn’t burdened with too onerous of a salary cap hit, either in money or term.
Most people recognize how flooded the goalie market is, so it made perfect sense for Scrivens to take this deal rather than wait until he was an unrestricted free agent this summer. With the annual game of goalie musical chairs more frantic than ever, it’s entirely possible he could have received a far worse pact in July. It’s also possible MacTavish could have lost Scrivens on the open market and be faced with acquiring two new goalies to begin next season.
One-year goalie contracts are becoming the norm, so this extension represents a victory of sorts for Scrivens. And if he can make the No. 1 job his own, he’ll be a significant bargain for Edmonton.