The move is a surprise since Scrivens played 57 games for the Oilers last season, even if he posted a sub-par 3.16 GAA and a .890 Sv%. A portion of those poor numbers can be pinned on the team, who play their home games in Rexall Place, a well-known goaltender graveyard.
Over the summer the Oilers shook up things in net when they made a trade to acquire Cam Talbot from the New York Rangers and then made another trade to acquire Anders Nilsson from the Chicago Blackhawks.
It looks like, as expected, Talbot will be given a shot at being the starting goaltender, while Scrivens will be sent to the AHL. That will make Nilsson, who didn’t allow a single goal through 120 preseason minutes, the team’s back-up.
There’s a possibility that the team still has some belief in Scrivens and that putting him in the AHL may be a move that, while it’s likely to be disappointing for Scrivens, will give him reps and confidence if he can succeed there.
Overall, Scrivens has a better track record than Nilsson, but recency likely plays a role here, with Scrivens struggling last year and Nilsson posting a .936 Sv% with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL last year.
The #Oilers have placed goaltender Ben Scrivens on waivers for the purpose of assignment.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 4, 2015
With Scrivens having posted solid numbers prior to joining the Oilers — and he wasn’t a slouch in his first partial season with the team — there’s a chance a team looking for a solution in net may pick him up, since the price of acquiring him is low and his $2.3 million contract isn’t outrageous.
If he clears waivers, the Oilers said on Twitter that the plan is to assign him to the AHL, as they did with Nikitin. If that happens, the Oilers will get a little cap relief, with Scrivens’s contract costing $1.35 million against the cap.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.