THE PITCH: TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Robin Brownlee
February 06 2014 11:28PM

Whether you go by gut-feeling or spreadsheet, there's no way of knowing for sure if Ben Scrivens is the real deal the Edmonton Oilers have been waiting for in the goal crease, but there's no question he's making a compelling and timely case that he is.

I gave my take on Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov and Edmonton's goaltending situation a few days ago as both approach UFA status, so I won't re-paint the big picture I outlined, but it's difficult not to look at Scrivens again after he made 35 saves in a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers.

With six games in the books for the Oilers, the 27-year-old stopper from Spruce Grove has stopped 219 of the 231 shots he's faced, which translates to a .948 saves percentage. He's 3-3-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average.

Small sample size (as the stats guys are fond of saying)? Sure. Does six games mean GM Craig MacTavish should back up the Brink's truck for Scrivens to convince him not to test the UFA market? No. This could be a remarkably hot stretch, nothing more.

REALITY CHECK

That said, the reality is MacTavish does not have the luxury of taking a longer look than what he'll get beyond the end of the regular season where Scrivens is concerned. There's an element of risk because of that.

The way I see it, MacTavish would be well-advised to make Scrivens and agent Jay Fee an offer sooner rather than later. At the same time, it makes sense for Scrivens and Fee to let this play out and test the market. I tend to think that's how it'll unfold.

One thing's certain, Scrivens couldn’t have picked a better time to play the best goal of his brief NHL career. Every time he puts in a performance like he did against the Rangers, his price goes up. While he's not going to play at a .948 clip indefinitely, he's going to get paid.

ALL THAT TALK ABOUT SAM

I'd like to think that even Sam Gagner's harshest critics, and there are many who fall into that category, understand that trading him to the Los Angeles Kings for Kyle Clifford straight up is a move only a fool would make. Say what you want about MacTavish, he's no fool.

While it's nonsense on so many levels, at least as a one-for-one swap, there's so much smoke surrounding discussions between L.A. GM Dean Lombardi and MacTavish that there's got to be some fire there. One supposed insider even suggested today via Twitter Gagner would be shipped to Tinseltown before the New York game. Well, no.

The only way a swap involving Gagner and Clifford makes sense – I'm not the first to suggest this – is if there's other players involved on both sides, and I'm not just talking about Lombardi flipping the draft pick the Oilers gave up for Scrivens back to Edmonton.

Youngster Tyler Toffoli, a centre, was the subject of much speculation as an add-in from the L.A. side of things, but that tips the scales too far in favor of the Oilers for Lombardi to bite. If this talk turns into a trade, there's got to be somebody from Edmonton's end going south to square it up.

WHAT ABOUT RAMSAY?

If the Oilers are looking to add a coach to their staff in support of Eakins between now and next season -- they are -- they should be taking a long look at Craig Ramsay, who was sacked by the Florida Panthers last November when head coach Kevin Dineen was let go.

Ramsay, 62, who has made coaching stops with Florida, Ottawa, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, where he won the Stanley Cup in 2004, is the kind of teacher and technical coach who'd be a fit here.

WHILE I'M AT IT . . .

. . . I said it on Twitter today and I'll say it again: while I see a need for MacTavish to bolster his forwards with grit and size that can play in the top six, I'd like to think he's making calls about proven defensemen. You won’t get a top-pairing blueliner for Gagner, but I'd like to think he can fetch a veteran capable of playing in the second pairing here.

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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#1 The Last Big Bear
February 06 2014, 11:35PM
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Fist things first - If you allow fewer pucks on net, you don't need exceptional goaltending, and so you don't need to be backed into a corner by a flash-in-the-pan goalie on a hot streak.

Fix the defence, and things will start coming together for the Oilers, regardless of who is in net.

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#2 LOIL99
February 06 2014, 11:46PM
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It can take 200+ games to know if a goalie is the real deal. Sometimes longer. Sign Scrivy, yes. But PLEASE don't overpay based on 6 games, unless he is willing to play for free during the inevitable bad 6 game stretches.

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#3 Serious Gord
February 06 2014, 11:49PM
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Robin:

Re: Scrivens

Two words: Roman Turek.

Far too early to sign Scrivens

Re: Ramsay

No way the FOKs allow someone as distinguished and independently respected to come inside the organization and put the FOKs at risk of damning questioning and criticism.

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#4 bazmagoo
February 07 2014, 12:30AM
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Martin Marincin playing like a veteran has me more excited than Scrivens. In today's NHL goalies go through hot and cold streaks all the time. If you can land Scrivens at 2 years, 1.5 - 2 million I say go for it, but we need another goalie to battle with him for the #1 spot. I don't think Bryz is the guy to push him.

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#5 tileguy
February 07 2014, 12:33AM
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They did with Eakins so shut the fok up.

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#6 tileguy
February 07 2014, 12:37AM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Martin Marincin playing like a veteran has me more excited than Scrivens. In today's NHL goalies go through hot and cold streaks all the time. If you can land Scrivens at 2 years, 1.5 - 2 million I say go for it, but we need another goalie to battle with him for the #1 spot. I don't think Bryz is the guy to push him.

Anybody here think you can sign Scrivens for 2 mil, raise your hands...didn't think so, try 3 for 3 years min.

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#7 james_dean
February 07 2014, 12:38AM
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As don cherry would say reguarding felix the cat...

he faces more rubber than the michelin man

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#8 Retsinnab5
February 07 2014, 12:39AM
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Offer Scrivens 3mil for 2 years?

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#9 tileguy
February 07 2014, 12:43AM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

Offer Scrivens 3mil for 2 years?

That might get it done as family life might be a factor, but 3 is the number.

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#10 mlcselli
February 07 2014, 12:58AM
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My spidey senses are telling me we have just seen Gagner play his last game as an Oiler. He'll be heading to LA tomorrow, and for the love of all that is Holy, win the trade. As far as the Professor signing here, hopefully his wife likes her in laws enough to support 3 for 3.

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#11 Mack Strong
February 07 2014, 02:15AM
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If there really needs to be a trade involving Gagner and the LA Kings….please let it include King or Tafoli and Clifford being an ADDITION to…not the centre piece of what LA sends our way.

Scrivens needs to be signed…the guy battles and doesn't give up on plays! We paid Bryz 2.266 for an experiment…Scrivens has shown that even with our pathetic defence, 2 - 3 opposing goal games are winnable. Sure we can always ask to see more games, or prove more, but even as a backup (if thats what we make him) he looks dam good!

Don't need to be a "competent" scout on the Oilers scouting crew to see Scrivens deserves a respectable contract….

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#12 bwar
February 07 2014, 04:04AM
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I thought the going rate for a player who has one amazing game was 4.8 mill for 3 years.

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#13 Mason Storm
February 07 2014, 04:07AM
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bwar wrote:

I thought the going rate for a player who has one amazing game was 4.8 mill for 3 years.

Zing!!!!

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#14 pelhem grenville
February 07 2014, 04:31AM
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...compelling debate on the whether to sign Scrivens or not on the small sample

...and he'd make terrific trade bait too!

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#15 oilabroad
February 07 2014, 05:32AM
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Its not just 6 games for Scrivens, his GA for the season are far better than anything we are likely to get in the offseason. He is a local kid (which seems to be something management has identified as important), he is the right age, and the dollars wont be huge... sign him up and move on to the other holes that need to be filled

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#16 fig pucker
February 07 2014, 05:53AM
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the oilers have the problem of a huge demand and a limited supply when it comes to goaltending. what does that mean, well it means forget about a fair deal if we want to keep scrivens, just a guess but i think it will cost 4 million and 4 yrs to keep him. look miller or hiller aren't coming, so what choice do the oil have but to massively overpay and hope scrivens wants to stay. the bright side is remember schnider and bernier, they both played only backup for 2 of the better teams in the league. scrivens has played backup in tor and la and done well and seems to be up to the task of carrying the mail in edm. my point is how many of us would have complained if mact overpayed to land either of them? scrivens i think has made the case his pedigree is as good as theirs. in my opinion he's the best shot we have right now of landing a number 1. if he does sustain his current play 4 mill is reasonable.

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#17 NJ
February 07 2014, 06:15AM
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Seriously? Can we get rid of the PINK background? Find a new sponser pls!

Re: Scrivens. Trade bait? Fine. Sign him? Fine. He is not going to make or break the next season and a couple weeks ago he was worth nothing more than a draft pick. This streak hasn't changed anything except our concept of what Scrivens is worth.

My personal opinon? 1 Year. 3 million. Heck, play him 4 if he wants it. But for heaven's sake play him 60 games. Find out what you have. It took us forever to find out Duby wasn't a number one. Let's please not make that mistake again.

We don't have cap problems (really) next year so a million extra or 2 in a potential number one is no problem. Especially with 4.8 off the books.

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#18 Cody anderson
February 07 2014, 06:20AM
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At very least Scrivens has shown over his career that he is an elite backup with starter potential.

I would hope they have already talked about the possibility of resigning him. Right now I would be willing to go up to 3 million for his choice of 1-3 years. If he continues to play anywhere near the level he has been that number would get higher as we approached the end of the season.

If he has not shown interest at resigning then I would plan on trading him at the deadline. The way he is currently playing I could see them getting a low 1st or high second for him, or possibly even a prospect that is NHL ready.

I would be playing him as much as possible down the stretch to get a true read on his skill.

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#19 hemi
February 07 2014, 06:20AM
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When was the last time that the majority of the fan base thought that our goaltender (spot light on the Professor)was past the level of good? In the very short time frame since the Oil acquired Scrivens, he has almost single handed, won over the fans and the players.

Scrivens has definitely put himself in the driver's seat and you can bet your last buck that Management knows they are on the hot seat with this player. Nobody knows for sure if Scrivens is the goalie for the Oil, but looking in the rear view mirror and looking ahead, he has demonstrated that he can indeed be a piece of the puzzle that will hopefully allow the Oil to get back to some resemblance of respectability.

Sign him!

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#20 NJ
February 07 2014, 06:21AM
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fig pucker wrote:

the oilers have the problem of a huge demand and a limited supply when it comes to goaltending. what does that mean, well it means forget about a fair deal if we want to keep scrivens, just a guess but i think it will cost 4 million and 4 yrs to keep him. look miller or hiller aren't coming, so what choice do the oil have but to massively overpay and hope scrivens wants to stay. the bright side is remember schnider and bernier, they both played only backup for 2 of the better teams in the league. scrivens has played backup in tor and la and done well and seems to be up to the task of carrying the mail in edm. my point is how many of us would have complained if mact overpayed to land either of them? scrivens i think has made the case his pedigree is as good as theirs. in my opinion he's the best shot we have right now of landing a number 1. if he does sustain his current play 4 mill is reasonable.

Had to reply.

If Scrivens sustain's his current play, that would make him the #1 goalie in the league.

4 Mill wouldn't be reasonable. It would be a bargain. 6+ would be reasonable. The question is not what's reasonable, it's "Can he sustain his current level of play" and how much are you willing to gamble on that?

The one thing I'm convinced of is that Scrivens WANTS to be a number one and will battle for it. Bryz I think could be the backup we're looking for and could even push for the #1 job. Plus, who doesn't like a crazy Russian.

Sorry for the double post.

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#21 Paq Twinn
February 07 2014, 06:30AM
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@NJ

That in secure with youself that you cant deal with a little pink for a month or so. Deal with it tough guy.

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#22 DangerSteve
February 07 2014, 07:15AM
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Friend that lives in LA was texting me that after the Kings game last night the buzz was that it was a massive deal between Edmonton and LA. But a domino was to fall with the NYI. Apparently Brown or Richards were talked about heading to Edmonton, and Gagner with another player and a high draft pick going back to LA. So most likely if Vanek ends up in LA,then the Edmonton trade would be involving one of those guys. Lombardi looking for a big shakeup, and wants more skill to go with the size he has.

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#23 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
February 07 2014, 07:37AM
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@DangerSteve

Don't tease me with those names. It would never happen for E-town...

...would it? D:

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#24 RexHolez
February 07 2014, 07:39AM
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Scrivens plays for the oilers, so don't sign him now. Wait until his gaudy save % goes down, which it will as he plays more games behind this team

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#25 vetinari
February 07 2014, 07:50AM
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I think that the trade deadline is MacT's extension deadline with Scrivens-- I don't mind a bit of an overpay on a short term contract (1 to 2 years) because if Scrivens turns out to be a bust, you can still absorb and even maybe move the contract without a long term hit to your payroll.

A two year contract would also give Scrivens another 80-100 games (barring injury) to audition and prove that he should get the really big money.

Otherwise, teams will easily give you back a 1st or 2nd rounder or a mid level prospect or role player under contract to rent him for a playoff run-- and you would still have a chance to get him back when he hits UFA status in July.

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#26 DangerSteve
February 07 2014, 08:00AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Don't tease me with those names. It would never happen for E-town...

...would it? D:

I am not trying to tease. He just told me that and like yourself I was pretty excited. I doubt it will be something that big, but if they do land Vanek I think one of those guys would be on the move out. Especially if they want to re-sign Vanek after this season.

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#27 719
February 07 2014, 08:19AM
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Never thought about Ramsay before but that would make alot of sense for this team.

As for Gagner trade. I can see the Oilers wanting Mike Richards. He would be a perfect veteran type the Oilers would need as a second line centre. I thought he had a no trade clause though?

If it was Mike Richards coming back, the Oilers would have to include more than Gagner, so the idea of a multi player trade that the rumor mill has been churning out would make sense.

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#28 Spydyr
February 07 2014, 08:20AM
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Hopefully the "braintrust" have put out feelers to Scrivens agent.To see if he is even interested in signing here and what price would work to get that done.Get a feel for the lay of the land.

Then again the "braintrust" here never fails to show their arrogance and ineptitude when it comes to dealing with players.

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#29 Still Hoping
February 07 2014, 08:39AM
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Think about this. Scrivens plays for the worst defensive team in the NHL, which has given up the most shots. He is a free agent at the end of the year.

He will be noticed by a better managed team. What is his agent going to say. Stay in Edmonton where they can only trade 4th liners for 4th liners or move to another team. My bet, he's gone.

Again, the problem is no credible management with Lowe and Mac T around.

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#30 AHHH
February 07 2014, 08:42AM
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DangerSteve wrote:

Friend that lives in LA was texting me that after the Kings game last night the buzz was that it was a massive deal between Edmonton and LA. But a domino was to fall with the NYI. Apparently Brown or Richards were talked about heading to Edmonton, and Gagner with another player and a high draft pick going back to LA. So most likely if Vanek ends up in LA,then the Edmonton trade would be involving one of those guys. Lombardi looking for a big shakeup, and wants more skill to go with the size he has.

Ganger is not worth a bag of pucks. Slow, insignificant player against a good team. He would not make the top 2 lines on any top 10 team in the NHL.

We are going to get nothing for him. Good to get rid of his contract.

The important thing to not is the mismanagement of Gagner. They should have traded him and kept Cogliano. Well another management mistake by Lowe et al.

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#31 j
February 07 2014, 08:42AM
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719 wrote:

Never thought about Ramsay before but that would make alot of sense for this team.

As for Gagner trade. I can see the Oilers wanting Mike Richards. He would be a perfect veteran type the Oilers would need as a second line centre. I thought he had a no trade clause though?

If it was Mike Richards coming back, the Oilers would have to include more than Gagner, so the idea of a multi player trade that the rumor mill has been churning out would make sense.

It depends. If the Kings are coveting Vanek then it is the NYI who we have to appease. And Vanek is a UFA. Would Gagner, a prospect and a 2 rounder in 2016 work? I mentioned Richards the other day as I really think he could be in play. The Kings have too many players that grind out games. They need some finesse. Richards is 4 years older and likely to wear down much faster given the type of game he plays. Would be a great deal for the Oil.

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#32 Rdubb
February 07 2014, 08:49AM
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I don't think MacT has to back up the brinks truck, but he should offer Scrivens a 2 or 3 yr deal worth about $1.7-$2.4 per season, & if by chance MacT also signs a big name tender in the off season and signs them to a $4M per deal, then you still only have $6-$7M tied up in 2 goalies, which isn't too bad, and if MacT can only get a capable journey man back-up signed for $1m per, well, now you have very little monies tied up in your goalies and you can go out and try and sign one or two big D men. Plus, I thought Ben carried the load real good when Quick went down and he has carried it over to Edmonton. When we first got Ben, I didn't know a lot about him, but from what I have seen these past 2 weeks, he just may be our goalie for 4 or 5 yrs, or until Broissiot (you know who I mean) is ready to come up, back up for a yr or two and then take the reins, in a perfect world that is... It sounds like Ben is fitting in very good in the Oil room, and it sounds like his mates like him a lot, although stopping the puck helps that out a TON too... Sign Scrivens soon & go from there... Peck

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#33 Max
February 07 2014, 09:01AM
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Signing Ben makes sense and a win-win situation. He's a local boy, grandparents get to see their grandkids more often during the season, other grandparents get to see them during the summer. Ben will be treated like a God in Edmonton, as we do tend to put our top players on a pedestal - heck, we even adore the not so hot ones! We get to have him mature along with our team, and with a couple more tweaks to the roster, who knows what next season could evolve into. I would love to see him signed - we haven't had this much faith in a goalie for years. Stay in Edmonton Ben, it's your chance to prove you are a number 1, and bring some hope back to the team and the fans......

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#34 The Farmer
February 07 2014, 09:01AM
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I find it interesting how everyone bows at the feet of mighty LA, and how their defence makes average goalies look great. Seems that it might be a two way street. Bernier goes to the Leafs who are routinely outshot, and has them in playoff contention. Scrivens comes to Edmonton and single handedly has won a few games that they had no business having a sniff in. Oh yeah and the Kings still have arguably the best goalie on the planet.

LA is no doubt a sound and structured team, but there is no denying that recently they're a goalie factory too

Where would our sad sack Oil be right now if we had a few of these saves early in the season when they were actually out shooting opponents, before they completely lost their confidence?

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#35 pkam
February 07 2014, 09:02AM
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tileguy wrote:

Anybody here think you can sign Scrivens for 2 mil, raise your hands...didn't think so, try 3 for 3 years min.

If I was Scrivens I will prefer a 1 year bridge at 2M or 2 year bridge at 2.5M to prove myself and get the big contract earlier.

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#36 DisappointedFan
February 07 2014, 09:04AM
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@Spydyr

They did convince Justin Schultz to come to the frozen tundra...so I will give them a single nugget of success.

Nothing more though, one good deed doesn't make up for the landslide of dropped nuggets.

And I love me some nuggets.

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#37 Spydyr
February 07 2014, 09:08AM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

They did convince Justin Schultz to come to the frozen tundra...so I will give them a single nugget of success.

Nothing more though, one good deed doesn't make up for the landslide of dropped nuggets.

And I love me some nuggets.

Do you think Justin Schultz might be having some regret with his decision?

Remember when they sent that DVD then went to Kelowna begging Heatly to come here.Awwwww good times.

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#38 A-Mc
February 07 2014, 09:10AM
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You can usually tell when a goalie is on a hot streak. By Eye they randomly make saves they have no business making. I dont see that with Ben Scrivens. He looks sharp and in control.

Am i saying that .948 is going to be his game going forward? Hell no. But i've seen enough to convince me he is worth a shot at a healthy number for both sides.

SIGN THE PROFESSOR!

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#39 CdnMaDCoW
February 07 2014, 09:19AM
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Scrivens sure has looked good for us so far but I have a baaad feeling that he doesn't even want to sign here. After all that BS about our media tyrants bashing his wife's twitter remarks, I figure the Scrivens' are looking to get outta Dodge. Thanks for the ride Ben. It was fun while it lasted.

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#40 HardBoiledOil
February 07 2014, 09:19AM
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yup, we must sign him! and the Oilers will likely try to find another goalie in the off season to share the duties with Scrivins.

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#41 HardBoiledOil
February 07 2014, 09:23AM
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CdnMaDCoW wrote:

Scrivens sure has looked good for us so far but I have a baaad feeling that he doesn't even want to sign here. After all that BS about our media tyrants bashing his wife's twitter remarks, I figure the Scrivens' are looking to get outta Dodge. Thanks for the ride Ben. It was fun while it lasted.

bull....that would be the day that a hand full for tweetheads makes the decision on whether or not Ben signs here!

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#42 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
February 07 2014, 09:26AM
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When does the trade freeze kick in? 1 PM?

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#43 Spydyr
February 07 2014, 09:30AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

When does the trade freeze kick in? 1 PM?

Yup, 3pm eastern 1pm mountain time.

Are your fingers crossed?

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#44 tileguy
February 07 2014, 09:34AM
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pkam wrote:

If I was Scrivens I will prefer a 1 year bridge at 2M or 2 year bridge at 2.5M to prove myself and get the big contract earlier.

I think he is at that age where the security of 10 mil in the bank will let him sleep at night and if his carear goes up in smoke ie injury, then he is set. He is till young enough that after 3 years he is still in his prime and the big contract can come then.

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#45 pkam
February 07 2014, 09:35AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Do you think Justin Schultz might be having some regret with his decision?

Remember when they sent that DVD then went to Kelowna begging Heatly to come here.Awwwww good times.

The management should not get credit for beating the other 28 team in landing Justin if he regrets about his decision? Really?

So the Ducks management must be much worse than ours because a player they drafted regretted to be drafted by them so much and wanted out before his ELC with them.

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#46 Westcoastoil
February 07 2014, 09:35AM
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You can't get drunk and pay Scrivens on .948 in 6 games. What is the market for a top backup or Potential #1? That plus maybe 15% tops because you're over a barrel, but any more makes no sense because what other team is going to pay him more than that? Spend the rest on fixing the D

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#47 vetinari
February 07 2014, 09:36AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Yup, 3pm eastern 1pm mountain time.

Are your fingers crossed?

Where are the Barons today and if something happened by 1:00 pm, would the Oilers have enough time to call up a player or two for tonight's game?

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#48 GriffCity
February 07 2014, 09:42AM
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NJ wrote:

Had to reply.

If Scrivens sustain's his current play, that would make him the #1 goalie in the league.

4 Mill wouldn't be reasonable. It would be a bargain. 6+ would be reasonable. The question is not what's reasonable, it's "Can he sustain his current level of play" and how much are you willing to gamble on that?

The one thing I'm convinced of is that Scrivens WANTS to be a number one and will battle for it. Bryz I think could be the backup we're looking for and could even push for the #1 job. Plus, who doesn't like a crazy Russian.

Sorry for the double post.

Scrivens has been excellent yes, but he has not proven that he is a starter over 82 games and cannot justify being worth 4 mil just yet even to play in Edmonton. I do agree that the Oilers should sign the Spruce Grove native but not as a lock for the #1 position. Sure if he keeps up his great play through then end of the year and somehow the Oilers claw there way back to .500 hockey then I would say he is our guy for sure. In either case I feel that the Oilers should sign him asap and if he falls off over the rest of the season at least you have a viable backup for next year who could push for the #1 spot. Back ups don't make 4 millions dollars a season and up to this point in his NHL career that is all Scrivens has been. Signing him now will be cheaper than signing him at seasons end regardless of how well or poorly he plays from here moving forward. 2 -2.5 million would be fair on both ends.

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#49 camdog
February 07 2014, 09:43AM
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CdnMaDCoW wrote:

Scrivens sure has looked good for us so far but I have a baaad feeling that he doesn't even want to sign here. After all that BS about our media tyrants bashing his wife's twitter remarks, I figure the Scrivens' are looking to get outta Dodge. Thanks for the ride Ben. It was fun while it lasted.

Man oh man when a guy from Toronto, aka a LEAF FAN bashes E-town and it's published across the country in a nationally covered paper, it doesn't mean the local media are TYRANTS!

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#50 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
February 07 2014, 09:47AM
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Just heard Letang is out six weeks after suffering a stroke? Lordy, hope he's okay.

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