LeBrun: Sabres have “no interest” in Ben Scrivens

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It isn’t hard to figure that the Edmonton Oilers have some motivation to trade away goaltender Ben Scrivens. According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, however, the NHL team most obviously in need of goaltending help isn’t interested.

LeBrun writes that Buffalo’s preference is to start by giving an opportunity to some players in the system. Obviously, that could change; the trio of Chad Johsnon, Nathan Lieuwen and Linus Ullmark doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. LeBrun comes to the same conclusion, and suggests that if things change the Sabres have some options available to them:

The Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche are among the teams looking to move a goalie, the Flames still carrying three on their NHL roster while the Avs would gladly move one of their backups. And everyone knows the Edmonton Oilers wants to move Ben Scrivens, but there’s no interest from Buffalo. Scrivens was placed on waivers by the Oilers before the season, so it should come as no surprise GM Peter Chiarelli also sent a memo to the 29 other teams reminding them he’s available for trade. But so far, there have been no takers.

Are the Oilers right to want to move Scrivens? Is Buffalo right to be indifferent?

There is a case for Edmonton to keep Scrivens. Despite results through three games (as I recall, Scrivens’ success after coming over from L.A. in trade was pretty impressive, too) both Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson are untested in their current roles. Just one season ago Scrivens was highly-regarded enough to be entrusted with the starting job in Edmonton, and one lousy year does not and should not wipe away the fine work he did prior to it. It’s not crazy to think that having him around as an insurance policy is a good idea.

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However, there are other considerations. First, Scrivens has no long-term future with the team; he’s a pending free agent and even if he plays well it is unlikely that he would be re-signed. Second, the Oilers already have a good No. 3 goalie in Laurent Brossoit, a prospect who needs to keep getting minutes in the AHL; Scrivens’ presence complicates that. Third, he makes $2.3 million in the minors and that’s a big wad of money to spend on an insurance policy. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to pay a pile of money to a temporary stopgap who is stealing minutes away from a top prospect, particularly if the alternative is getting some small asset back from trading him.

As for the Sabres, it’s a little surprising to see general manager Tim Murray being so cavalier with his team’s future after an extremely aggressive offseason that saw many young players traded for help in the here-and-now. Johnson had one good year as a backup in Boston but for the most part his career doesn’t scream NHL-quality. His 0.889 save percentage with the Islanders was even slightly worse than Scrivens’ 0.890 performance in Edmonton, and unlike Scrivens there’s not much reason to think it an extreme aberration. Lieuwen was also a sub-0.890 save percentage goalie last year, except he managed that distinction in the AHL. Ullmark has played all of one pro game in North America and is coming off a 0.904 save percentage performance in Sweden’s best league (though he’d been much, much better the previous year).

It’s not far beyond the bounds of probability that Murray could land Scrivens for something marginal, perhaps even with the Oilers retaining salary or taking back Johnson’s $1.3 million contract. It’s a little weird that the league’s most aggressive G.M. this summer is suddenly hesitating.

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  • Randaman

    Scrivens will be playing out his contract in the AHL and will not sign another one way contract.

    He lost his chance by his play. Plain & simply done IMO

  • T.J.F.M.

    Minn has Backstrom and Kuemper available. Calgary will lose one of Ramo or Hiller.
    Dallas would love to lose one of Lehtonen or Niemi (as over $10M invested into goaltending is a waste of money).

    There are way better options out there then Scivens. Both for the short term and long term.

    • Oilers-Entourage

      Dallas plan was to have a tandem in net….with the back to back starts, heavy westren competition, long travel. Their idea was to have 2 legit goalies playing, not to trade them.

      • T.J.F.M.

        Lehtonen was untradeable and they didn’t trust him. That is why they were FORCED to develop a tandem in net. With the early signs pointing up for Niemi, maybe in the future they would let go of Lehtonen. I agree, the small one week sample-size is not enough to justify a trade as of yet, but maybe after 20 games? 30?

        Buffalo likely would not be interested in Lehtonen and his $5.9M price tag. Lehner will come back at some point. They just need a stop gap.

        A goalie with a contract expiring at the end of this season is likely their main target. Hiller fits the bill. As does Backstrom.

  • Serious Gord

    Johnathon the answer to your two questions are:

    Yes, Edmonton is wise to want to deal him and

    Yes, buffalo is right to want nothing to do with him.

    Scrivens never was a legit nhl starter. And now because of his lack of ability and lack of upside is not even a legit backup.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    Tim Murray is an idiot. He doesn’t want to deal with Edmonton because he’s still mad that all that “tanking” last year didn’t land him the lottery pick.

    What a sniveling child he is.

    • For Pete's Sake!

      Really? Maybe the guy knows that he doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room to make the wrong decision. Scrivens – irrespective of his performance – wasn’t able to make the Edmonton Oilers’ NHL club. It’s not the kind of note on the resume that inspires confidence in potential employers. 1M spent on Scrivens today (assuming that the Oilers would retain more than half of his salary) is 1M you can’t spend on the guy you need to replace him with.

      • For Pete's Sake!

        Do you remember how Murray insulted Eichel at the rookie combine after losing the lottery last spring? The guy’s a petulant child.

        And hell, Dubie was an Oiler reject too. Who knows what Scrivens would do on another team? He did have a pretty decent save percentage at one time.

        • mithaman

          I’m not arguing that Scrivens doesn’t have value, but I don’t think that means Murray’s an idiot. The guy looked bad before the lottery yes, but he looked pretty good at the draft. He looked good taking advantage of Winnipeg’s troubles with Kane as well last season. Really it was a great way to improve his team for this season without compromising his tank last year.
          There are a lot of ‘maybe’ goalies available before you take the one that’s making 2.6/ year.
          Finally that Dubnyk post Oiler career resurrection is *$ing up a lot of Oilers’ fans ability to judge the team from the blueline back. It’s not something to bet on happening with Scrivens, Fasth, Khabby et al and really we would all be better off forgetting that it happened once.

          • For Pete's Sake!

            We can argue about how competent Tim Murray is until we’re blue in the face.

            I think it’s obvious though that he got fleeced by the Jets in the Kane deal last year.

            Also, he traded way too much for Lehner at the draft last spring. Surprise, surprise. Lehner’s already gone for several weeks with an injury. Is he injury prone or what??

            That obvious tank at the end of last season was a “work of genius” as well.

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      What a bunch of horse sh-t

      Why would Murray deal for a goalie that’s at best a back up AHL goalie?

      He doesn’t want to deal with the Oilers because he’s NOT an idiot!!

      You want to throw stones and label people then look to the person who signed the goalie long term in the first place.

      Good grief.

  • Oilers-Entourage

    Scrivens is apparently not required by the Oilers.

    Why not pay him out or offer to pay part of his $2.5 million contract to another team.

    Scrivens may be happy to join another team who can average better than one goal a game.What chance does any Oiler goalie have today.

    Zero and Four is more than a disquint possibility after St Louis visits on Thursday?

  • A-Mc

    I actually still think scrivens is a decent goalie. He may not be what the Oilers need, but i think he’s still good. I blame the 5 guys in front of him (And continue to blame the 5 guys infront of our current goalies).

    It’d take a guy like Lundqvist to steal some wins with the way the Oilers skaters have been playing in front of their goaltenders these last few years.

  • A-Mc

    Scrivens just came off a horrible season and has been demoted to the AHL. I think its fair that Buffalo is staying away for the moment and I’m pretty sure Murray is shopping around for a more stable solution.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    At some point someone will sustain a long-term injury in net. Then Scrivens will be more attractive, especially if they retained salary. Who knows? There is no guarantee that Talbot and Scrivens make it through the season healthy. He will be a decent short-term option, just not three games into the season.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    Wow, the Scrivens-bashing on here sounds a bit harsh. I doubt that every GM in the league has written off Scrivens just because he had one bad season playing behind a team that can’t defend. He has enough history of decent NHL play that he’ll probably get another look. The real reason for lack of interest is the salary and cap hit, and at this point in the season I doubt that Chiarelli would offer to retain salary when the cap hit for doing so would be more than the cap hit from burying him in the minors. So he’ll probably play out his contract in the AHL and sign on as an NHL backup next year.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    As a flames fan speaking here, and being as neutral as I can, any GM in their right mind would say no to Scrivens and attempt negotiations for either Ramo/Hiller or even Lehtonen/Niemmi. Hiller, Lehtonen and Niemmi have all been #1 starters at some point in the last 4 years with applaudable numbers, and Ramo has been a solid backup his entire career. A lot of Scrivens problems have had to do with the D infront of him, but I’ve never seen him stand on his head and steal a win. Murray would be wise to bide his time, let his rookies play, then trade accordingly. I personally would like to see one of Hiller or Ramo gone, but even that could turn to be a not wise decision on Murray’s part.

    • camdog

      I have always been a DD fan. Scrivens will never be DD. He is a back up at best. There are numerous young goalies like Nilsson that if given the chance can out perform Scrivens.