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If you’re a fan of the Maple Leafs, chances are over the past few years you’ve noticed quite a few roster changes. In fact, you’ve more than likely seen your favorite players walk away in droves. Names, such as Joseph, Sundin, and most recently Kessel have become synonymous with the mediocrity of a team that came close— but could never quite get there. It hurts a little more than most of us are willing to admit.
Thankfully, the 2015 announcement of a “scorched earth” rebuild turned heads league-wide, and helped give rise to the optimistic situation the Leafs are sitting in today.
As we patiently await the close of a seemingly never ending off-season, I would like to shine some light on a former Leafs — or fallen Leaf, who’s pieces simply did not fit into the ever-growing puzzle management is assembling.
Scrivens’ journey with the Maple Leafs began in 2010 when he was signed as a free agent out of Cornell University of the ECAC.
Once settled with his new club—Scrivens found himself competing with former Leafs goalie, James Reimer for the Marlies back-up goalie position. Ultimately, this was a battle that Scrivens lost, and he was sent to play a short stint with the Reading Royals of the ECHL.
After an injury to Jonas Gustavsson propelled Reimer to a pro spot, Scrivens was promoted to the Marlies, where he finished off his season posting a .924 save percentage, and progressed to .926 the following season. Enough to earn him a call up towards the end of 2011-12.
Scrivens made his NHL debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov 4, 2011— a contest in which he pulled off a 4-1 win while being outshot 39-18. He then finished the season going 4-5 posting a mediocre .902 save percentage.
After starting the 2012-13 season with the Marlies, Scrivens returned to the Maple Leafs lineup for 20 more games, backing up James Reimer. Finishing the season with a respectable save percentage of .915— it seemed as if Scrivens might finally secure the Leafs back-up position, and avoid yet another stint in the AHL. However, during the 2013 off-season, Scrivens was traded to the LA Kings, alongside Matt Frattin, and a second round pick, in exchange for future Leafs goalie Johnathan Bernier.
In the 2 years following the trade, Scrivens was bounced from the Kings, to the Oilers, and finally to the Canadiens— where his NHL career came to a pause. After finishing the 2015-16 season, Scrivens decided to take his talents overseas, signing a one year deal with Dinamo Minsk of the KHL.
Instead of being stuck on the AHL/NHL cusp yet again, Scrivens became the undisputed number one goaltender for Minsk, starting a whopping 55 games out of a 60 game season.
In his single season with Minsk, Scrivens went an impressive 28-18-8, finishing with a fair save percentage of .918. His ability to start, and keep up with the puck game after game was a key contributor to Minsk finishing 1st in the Bobrov Division.
While his regular season play was impressive, his playoffs didn’t quite follow suit.
Dinamo Minsk began their playoffs in the 5th seed, against Maxime Talbot, and the 4th seed Locomotiv— a team that also featured former Leaf Brandon Kozun.
Minsk struggled to keep up with a very effective Locomotiv team, winning only a single game in the series before exiting in the first round for a 3rd year in a row.
While Scrivens can’t be blamed for the entire collapse, his performance was quite underwhelming, allowing 16 goals in 5 starts while maintaining an underwhelming .896 save percentage.
While I have no doubt Ben Scrivens will crawl his way back into the NHL one of these days, it will not happen this season. The 30 year old netminder will continue his pursuit of the Gagarin Cup this season with Salavat Yulaev.