CONGRATS, YOU'RE GOING TO EDMONTON

Robin Brownlee
January 15 2014 11:33PM

Ben Scrivens was decidedly understated today when Jason Gregor and I asked him if joining the Edmonton Oilers was his big chance to prove he's a bonafide NHL starter -- a timely opportunity, seeing as he's approaching unrestricted free agency. One can hardly blame him.

Scrivens, a native of Spruce Grove who has just 51 NHL games on his resume at the age of 27, wasn't going to get that chance playing behind Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles, so I was a bit surprised he didn’t sound more pumped about the deal that landed him back in Alberta.

Scrivens talked about not putting the cart before the horse and downplayed the bigger picture Gregor and I were trying to paint. Fair enough. Can't blame a guy for not flapping his gums to a couple media guys on live radio just hours into trying absorb a trade. He was getting ready to board his flight to join the Oilers on the road when we talked.

Then again, I'm assuming that, while Scrivens relishes a chance to play in a city where he'll have to compete for the crease with Ilya Bryzgalov instead of Quick, he's smart enough to know if he's going to prove to any team, including the Oilers, he's ready for prime time and a fat UFA contract, the opportunity comes with, shall we say, challenges.

If Scrivens can make it here, he can make it anywhere.

ONCE AN OILER . . .

On the upside for Scrivens, Quick is out of the equation. On the downside, so is Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov and the rest of a Los Angeles defense that's deeper and more talented than any group Oiler GM Craig MacTavish and coach Dallas Eakins can put in front of him right now.

In the Oilers, Scrivens joins a team that's 26 points behind the Kings in Western Conference standings. He goes from a team that has a decent chance to win a Stanley Cup to a team that's a lock to be a lottery team for the fifth straight year on the way to missing the playoffs for an eighth straight campaign.

In the Oilers, Scrivens joins a team that's allowing an average of 3.55 goals per game through 49 games and is on pace to allow 291 goals. Simply put, it's going to take a helluva lot more than a pending UFA like Scrivens – and the addition of journeyman ham-and-egger Matt Hendricks in another deal today – to turn that around.

Tending the four-by-six behind this bunch chewed outgoing Devan Dubnyk up before he got his ticket to Nashville in the Hendricks deal today. A faded Nikolai Khabibulin couldn’t get anything done here. Bryzgalov, who could not get an NHL job before the Oilers came calling, has had his moments, but has been mediocre at best (.902 with a 3.27 GAA) so far. Playing behind a team this full of holes on the blue line will do that to a stopper.

Is Scrivens good enough to overcome the team playing in front of him? I don't know, but he arrives with less impressive credentials than Bryzgalov and the broken-down Khabibulin. I don't see Scrivens, by the numbers at least, as a proven step-up from Dubnyk.

Understated is probably the way to play it, Ben.

WHILE I'M AT IT . . .

. . . I've got no argument with MacTavish trading Dubnyk. It was clear from his first comments about Dubnyk as GM that MacTavish wasn't sold on the former Kamloops Blazer as a No. 1 goaltender. Playing behind a bad team or not, Dubnyk didn't do enough to change his mind.

If MacTavish and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, who have watched Dubnyk, 27, since he turned pro, weren't convinced he was the guy by now, that wasn't going to change. Best to move him along.

. . . Analyst Matthew Barnaby said today via Twitter Hendricks turned down more money from the Oilers as a UFA to sign with Nashville: "I'm told Hendricks turned down more money from EDM in offseason but chose Nash for better fit." Hmm.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 max
January 16 2014, 01:13PM
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Not a very nice thing to show Ben's wife's tweets. And Toronto WASN'T his home town. I'm sure she is aware of what Edmonton is like from family visits. And Ben, ALL you have to do is better Bryz's stats and you'll be number 1. Win and you're in, simple as that. Show us all what a local boy can do - remember Grant Fuhr was a Spruce Grove boy too, and look what happened to the Oilers with him as netminder. Welcome to you, and Matt and good luck.

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#52 Brian
January 16 2014, 08:10AM
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Kr55 wrote:

Little article about his wife:

http://blogs.canoe.ca/slam/hockey/biggest-loser-in-oilers-kings-trade-mrs-scrivens/

Definitely looks like she prefers life in LA, and the US in general.

What's the divorce rate between Valley Girls and hockey players once the career, glamour, glitz and money are gone?

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#53 Cold Hard Truth
January 16 2014, 08:48AM
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Bucknuck wrote:

The D last year was no better than it is this year (Ference is an upgrade over Whitney). Last year Dubnyk got a .920 save percentage and the year before that .914. So I would argue that .915 is a reasonable expectation if Scrivens is to make an argument that he is a number one.

If Dubnyk did it for two years, then Scrivens should be able to. I'm not sure what happened to Dubnyk this year, but he was not the same goaltender as he was the previous two years.

I beg to differ.

The Oilers goals against average is 3.51 this year. Last year it was 2.71.

They're letting in more goals -- either do to their poor defence, or poor defensive coverage by the fowards, but likely a combition of the two.

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#54 tileguy
January 16 2014, 09:42AM
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Mason Storm wrote:

Hopefully he can prove himself here. What do you think is a reasonable expectation for his save percentage Robin? .915? Or should I lower that?

If he does post .915 - .920 the question is what will it take to resign him?

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#55 tileguy
January 16 2014, 09:54AM
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Kr55 wrote:

Little article about his wife:

http://blogs.canoe.ca/slam/hockey/biggest-loser-in-oilers-kings-trade-mrs-scrivens/

Definitely looks like she prefers life in LA, and the US in general.

She sounds like a beaut.

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#56 Kr55
January 16 2014, 10:02AM
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Brian wrote:

What's the divorce rate between Valley Girls and hockey players once the career, glamour, glitz and money are gone?

Along the lines of what Brownlee said in his response, I wonder how many guys have gotten married since the last time the Oilers made the playoffs that understand now that Happy Wife = Happy Life. I know I'm one of them :)

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#57 2004Z06
January 16 2014, 10:59AM
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Bucknuck wrote:

The D last year was no better than it is this year (Ference is an upgrade over Whitney). Last year Dubnyk got a .920 save percentage and the year before that .914. So I would argue that .915 is a reasonable expectation if Scrivens is to make an argument that he is a number one.

If Dubnyk did it for two years, then Scrivens should be able to. I'm not sure what happened to Dubnyk this year, but he was not the same goaltender as he was the previous two years.

PTSD is what happened to Dubnyk this year. Sad but true!

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#58 nina russo
January 16 2014, 12:20PM
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Unfortunately this has Eakins written all over it. If you are going to trade with LA take Jones. The guy has the potential to be a phenom.

But then again the issue here likely isn't the goaltending or defense per se but the coach in charge of them.

Dubnyk would have been far more effective with either Sean Burke (Pheonix) or Bill Ranford (LA) or Francois Allaire (Colorado) behind them.

Too bad we couldn't trade for Ranford and Jones, but then again Eakins has no history with them so they would have been simply sent to the minors....

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#59 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 16 2014, 03:56PM
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This team is a joke. Lowe and mact made things worse. Traded for a guy who took less money to not be here. How is that an intelligent move? I don't think any NHL player really wants to be here. Not the city people it is incompetent management.

To the fans who have stopped drinking the kool-aid i suggest we make contact with Cleveland Browns fans and maybe we can make a support group for hardcore fans of crappy teams and idiotic owners. Both groups deserve MUCH better than their favorite teams are giving them.

To the fans who still believe in management, bless you but please wake up.

I watch and laugh and hope katz realizes what a pro team should be.

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#60 Brian
January 16 2014, 07:11AM
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Not bold moves, but bearable. Move Dudnyk who is shaky at best, and take Scrivens for a test drive. Like him, pay him what he needs to stay. 3rd round pick? Whoever it turn out to be is a long way off if he plays at all. Hendricks? You are a 4 th liner making nice money. Suck it up or ride ghd back of a CWD garbage truck. Your lucky to be in the NHL.

Not a bad days work by MacT. Not great, but not bad.

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#61 Hemmercules
January 16 2014, 08:55AM
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Oilers management has to look at things from a business standpoint and I understand that. You can't base all your moves on the fact that this guys wife wont like Edmonton and that guy didnt want to play here before. Tough situation for sure but the bottom line is bringing in players that will improve your team.

Hendricks is a slight improvement for the team but nothing special. Any player will feel sour going to a crap team but I expect him to be a professional, take his overpayment and play hard for the Oilers. He probably wishes now that he just took extra money from the Oilers in the beginning since he ended up there anyway. Sucker.

Scrivens will have to play the best hockey of his life just to have a shot at signing somewhere this summer in my opinion. At best he plays ok and the Oilers or another team sign him for 1 year (Oilers having to overpay of course!). Judging by the wife situation, he likely takes any deal that brings him back to the states.

In the end, these trades probably leave the Oilers with one less draft pick, a decent all around 3-4 liner and no goalies this summer when Brysgalov likely signs a short deal elsewhere.

Doesn't look like a win to me unless somehow Scrivens plays lights out and signs a contract.

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#62 Yardbird
January 16 2014, 09:26AM
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I miss DSF on this board,Did he get caught smuggling at the Sumas border crossing?

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#63 **
January 16 2014, 11:59AM
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Hendricks must be feeling pretty silly right now. It's worrisome to learn that MacTavish was willing to give this guy even more money than what Nashville is paying him. Not unlike David Clarkson's situation, what a bullet Mac T dodged there.

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#64 Anton
January 16 2014, 03:05AM
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Considering that Scrivens has only played half of season in LAK and was only be able to keep his job as backup to Quick simply because Kings want to keep Jones fresh in AHL that he shouldn't feel anything negative because he was just never good enough. It is a tough task to play in EDM but to be honest that Oilers maybe the only chance that he can really get if he is hoping to become a legit No.1 NHL goalie into the future.

And for Hendricks...sometimes it is better to just take the money especially for a 4th liner. A team is willing to overpaid a player for his service that the team will not stop on trying to trade for him even if that team cannot get him to sign as UFA. A lifelong 4th liner is very much expandable on lots of team's roster especially on a big tough team like Nashville. So, welcome to Edmonton, no matter how much that you resist to play for.

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#65 Mooseroni
January 16 2014, 07:49AM
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I think what happened with Dubnyk is he had a kid this summer and it completely changed his outlook on life and net.

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#66 jr_christ
January 16 2014, 08:46AM
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Awesome! Trades!

Now... GET US SOME DEFENSEMAN!

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#67 Lochenzo
January 16 2014, 09:14AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Scrivens wife is an LA girl.She lives the LA life style.The chances of him signing here as a UFA is about as good as Pronger coming back.

So Mac-T has traded a third round pick for a backup goalie on a lotto team.He will get three months in that role.

Piss poor asset management, again.

ahhh... but if Scrivens does prove to be starter quality, he's going to sign where he can play a lot of games and get paid, and that's not LA.

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#68 Max
January 16 2014, 02:26PM
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Sorry - one last thing. For Ben: you have the chance to shine, you have the chance to become a superstar, you have the chance to become our saviour, you have the chance to make a huge difference to our team and fan morale, you have the chance to PROVE you are a #1 goalie in the NHL, you have the chance to surpass Bryz in numbers - so stand on your head buddy, do what you do best and what you love. Do this and you'll be a God in Edmonton. Only the Oilers can raise a man from obscurity to a hero in 40 seconds flat. Playoffs may be out of sight, but a long winning streak and rising up in the west standings will make us all very very happy.

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#69 Bob Loblaw
January 16 2014, 08:41AM
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I think that we should all remember that if this team was really good for a number of years, we'd be getting rid of players that played poorly. It shouldn't differ just because the Oilers are a bad team.

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#70 WhattaMike
January 16 2014, 08:42AM
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This morning I have been reading those many comments many have stated here and I agree the short term future does not look good for the Oilers right now ....but....this does not mean that the Oilers lose out on these two new players either.

IMO, if in his position...I would do just like Scrivens and say my type answers and thoughts as just the way he did because....being from Spruce Grove originally.... he absolutely knows how tough and fanatical the sports press and fan base are in this area...and he does not need to be considered the next saviour for as added pressure.And, he knows the Oilers are still a huge work in progress...

As for whether or not he will be here next season???? who cares right now. He can play this year and show all he can be and he can also still be traded by the deadline and/or...he may want to stay here after all...for...say three more years (new contract).

As for Hendricks.....concerning the issue of money or being with a team that is likely strong enough for a playoff position...he is now 32 and likely wants a stanley cup before his career ends. Dont blame him for that..

For now I give MacT credit and he improved two positions somewhat. (Dubnyk has played like major crap this year and he has had more than enough time to be a very good goalie. We need size and meanness back in this lineup and from a player who can play very decent hockey and thats where hendricks fits in.) Thats MacT's job isnt it??....to make improvements and get this team going. So he did something for now....Yeah yeah he has to make more better and bigger moves but I see and hear that no teams are knocking down his door for Hemsky, Gagner, Ryan Smyth, Nick Schultz, Jones, Grebeshkov, Belov, Bryzgalov, etc...right now.

So...the trade deadline is coming up soon and lets see where this all goes before there's huge whining some more... I know the team is gonna miss the playoffs again but...concerning a draft position...I also can see Eckblad coming in to be #1 and 1A with Nurse for the future too.

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#71 Hemmercules
January 16 2014, 09:07AM
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Mooseroni wrote:

I think what happened with Dubnyk is he had a kid this summer and it completely changed his outlook on life and net.

I think what happened is Dubnyk is what he is, an inconsistent goalie that lets in a soft goal sometimes. He probably gets better numbers in Nashville with a better defense in front but he wont be a starting goalie on any team next year. I would take a smaller faster goalie over Dubnyk any day.

Scrivens is hardly a replacement though, lateral move. He is likely also gone this summer for nothing unless Mact deals him at the deadline.

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#72 ZappBrannigan
January 16 2014, 03:49PM
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Did we belt a grandslam out of the park with this trade? -no. Are there personnel changes still required in the lineup? -plenty. But taking the 500-foot view of the franchise at this point is tiresome.

We got a promising young goalie who has an opportunity to become an NHL starting goalie in his home town. How it turns out only time will tell, but its a pretty f'n cool situation imo.

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#73 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 16 2014, 03:57PM
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Max wrote:

Sorry - one last thing. For Ben: you have the chance to shine, you have the chance to become a superstar, you have the chance to become our saviour, you have the chance to make a huge difference to our team and fan morale, you have the chance to PROVE you are a #1 goalie in the NHL, you have the chance to surpass Bryz in numbers - so stand on your head buddy, do what you do best and what you love. Do this and you'll be a God in Edmonton. Only the Oilers can raise a man from obscurity to a hero in 40 seconds flat. Playoffs may be out of sight, but a long winning streak and rising up in the west standings will make us all very very happy.

no pressure tho

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#74 tileguy
January 17 2014, 12:37PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect Scrivens to be in the .905 to .915 range. Then again, I was expecting that from Dubnyk in the second half, too, and we didn't get it.

Well he's off to an .888 start, hope those are lucky numbers for him.

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#75 Sal-Sational
January 16 2014, 10:55AM
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She sounds retarded!! http://blogs.canoe.ca/slam/hockey/biggest-loser-in-oilers-kings-trade-mrs-scrivens/ + take all that make up off and she'd look worse then Ben #Donkey

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#76 Max
January 16 2014, 04:25PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

no pressure tho

Absolutely none whatsoever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#77 #ThereGoesTheOilers
January 16 2014, 11:16PM
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If we can all agree that these two gentlemen will not address much more than a smidgen of the deficiencies our team has, then what is all this discussion about? The only news here is that Dubnyk is getting a new start. Glad for him.

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#78 Joe Mamma
January 16 2014, 12:09PM
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Sisyphus wrote:

While I agree that wanting to go to a winner can be a deciding factor for MH too, what does that still say about FA chances this off-season? Again, even with more money, veteran FA's want to go to a team with a chance to win--which is not EDM.

As for Scrivens and the hometown bit, I think we over-value how much that counts for. Maybe if your "hometown" is Toronto, where its still a vibrant, international city even if the hockey team isn't great, it might count, and you'd be willing to take a crappy starting job to be there. But this is Edmonton. Frozen tundra, relatively small-town, definitely no international feel, etc.

Edmonton is a city of over a million people. It's not a "small town" by anyone's estimation. Not saying I necessarily disagree with your point.

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#79 Bubba
January 16 2014, 02:27PM
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@Bryzarro World

I dunno, I'd be pretty pissed if someone made me live in T.O. for 3 years too lol!

Her last tweet says she's excited for Scrive's hometown. We're just dysfunctional enough to welcome one more nut to our party right? lol!

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#80 Cynic
January 16 2014, 09:47PM
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Cynic wrote:

Just got dealt from Cup-contender LAK. Today's temp in the 80s. To perennial cellar-dwelling Mickey Mouse Club. Today's temp I'm gonna guess -40. I'd be suicidal, never mind "understated."

51 Edmondchuckians in denial. I suppose you were swimming outside today...Didn't think so.

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#81 Rdubb
January 18 2014, 08:40AM
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Seriously people, quit freaking talking about how good LA's defence is, look @ the number of shots they give up day in and day out, they are very similar to what Edmonton gives up, maybe more. The only real difference is that Edmonton may give up a few more "prime time" scoring chances per game, but other than that, everything looks pretty much equal. Yes, LA has the D-men mentioned in the article, but they still give up a ton of shots, LA has played 1 less game but has given up 100 more shots, basically just over a spg more than Edmonton has to this point. In reality, LA has given up the MOST shots in the NHL to this point in the season... Just saying... Peck

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