The NHL season is just a week old, but the Buffalo Sabres have already suffered a significant loss after learning that newly acquired goalie Robin Lehner would be sidelined 6-10 weeks with a high ankle sprain.
While Buffalo had the worst record in hockey last year, the addition of Evander Kane and Ryan O’Reilly through trades along with drafting Jack Eichel second overall showed that the Sabres were ready to turn it around in 2016. Losing Lehner early could derail Buffalo’s plans, forcing them to potentially look for another goaltender and Ben Scrivens could be the answer.
Edmonton acquired Scrivens at the trade deadline in 2014 after he showed potential as a backup for the Los Angeles Kings, going 7-5-4 with a 1.97 goals against average and a trio of shutouts. However, he could not replicate his success north of the border. In Edmonton, Scrivens is 24-37-11 with a 3.12 goals against average and .898 save percentage.
The Oilers have made it known they are willing to move him. Before the season started, Scrivens was placed on waivers and General Manager Peter Chiarelli sent a memo to the other 29 teams that Scrivens was available but so far there have been no bites.
While Scrivens did struggle in Edmonton, it doesn’t help that the Oilers are an offense-focused team that lacked talent on defense, unlike Los Angeles, where Norris Trophy finalist Drew Doughty was helping protect the net.
A change of scenery may be just what Scrivens needs. Buffalo has more talent on defense than Edmonton and with the Oilers desperate to deal, he could be had at a cheap price. Plus, teams score less in the Atlantic Division than they do in the Pacific, which could help make a positive impact on his numbers.
At the moment, Buffalo seems committed to standing pat and allowing backup Chad Johnson to have a fair shot between the pipes.
“To me, trading for a goalie and not using who we have here first would be crazy,” said Sabres General Manager Tim Murray to ESPN.
Johnson could have a fair shot, but if he struggles, the Sabres are thin behind him and Buffalo could find themselves changing course.