The trade for Ben Scrivens looks like a quality move by Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. However, Oiler fans have gone from "well, maybe Scrivens will be okay" to "why didn’t they sign him right away!?!?!" and Oiler management is being cast as incompetent in a whole new way. The Oilers have something of value for young Srivens—beyond money. That one thing is probably the key to signing him, and doing it in due time.
The Oilers can offer Ben Scrivens work, and plenty of it. Now, he might not get 50+ shots a night, but he’ll be busy until these young players mature and begin pushing back against good NHL teams (all of the good NHL teams are in the Pacific Division—I’m kidding but only a little).
Edmonton could go to Scrivens during the Olympic break and offer a lucrative contract that goes beyond his resume. If they extended a two or three-year offer with dollars between $2M and $3M a season, I can’t imagine the young man turning it down. There’s some real security in that contract for Scrivens.
It’s still a risky contract for the Oilers, as Scrivens doesn’t have a lot of experience and the club just went through a disaster in goal early this season. What if Scrivens is unable to repeat his season in 2014-15? Once bitten, twice shy is a cliche for a reason.
WHAT ABOUT SIGNING SCRIVENS TO A ONE-YEAR DEAL?
If he signs a one year deal, wins the #1 job and kills it, you’re paying a lot of money for additional free agent seasons. Then again, if the Oilers have another poor season that may not be MacTavish’s problem. Among decisions to be made in the next six months, starting goaltender is pretty damn big.
DAMMIT MAN, WHAT’S THE BETTER PLAN?
A good General Manager looks to solve the problem longer term, so a multi-year deal is likely the better plan. A two-year deal—and a veteran backup with plenty of experience—may be the route to take. However, I believe MacTavish would be wise to wait until the rest of this season rolls out, and for the Oilers to play Ben Scrivens in 15 (or so) games after the Olympics. His price may go up, but the Oilers have to be sure on this one.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I believe Craig MacTavish was on his way to signing a Jonas Hiller in the offseason before Scrivens happened. The Oilers may still sign a veteran starter, but the opportunity to solve a massive problem with a player in his prime is very attractive. The asset cost was low, the dollar investment (money and term) should still be reasonable.
Edmonton and Scrivens may be a very good match. The carrot is the money married to the opportunity. Ben Scrivens will probably be as interested in a multi-year deal and the #1 job in the spring as he is now, and the Oilers will get a longer look before committing to another masked man before they are completely convinced he can succeed as a starting goalie.