It’s a tale to familiar to fans who pay any modicum of attention to the Edmonton Oilers.
With yet another year under their belts, the beleaguered team and fan base were relatively optimistic. The previous year they had 74 points–an improvement–and in the lockout season made it to the 8th seed before losing ten games to put themselves out near the end. There was good reason to believe the team would perhaps earn 80-90 points and maybe, just maybe, make the playoffs.
Um, no. With new coach Dallas Eakins walking into the dressing room and introducing a new defensive system, no one (not even Steve Smith, it would appear) told him the team hadn’t gotten basic two way defending down pat. It went awry, and he scaled it back. The power play suffered, too. But, the team may have been able to endure that. What they couldn’t have fathomed was the implosion that two goalies would make that would end the season early, infuriating the fan base and beginning another house cleaning that is nearing completion today.
One of the first moves to remedy the goaltending situation was to bring in Ben Scrivens. Stanley Cup winners the Los Angeles Kings liked Scrivens and felt he would be a good back up to Jonathan Quick. But, then Martin Jones went and got six straight shut outs in relief and Scrivens quickly lost his shine for Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi.
Enter Craig MacTavish. He would swap a mere third round pick for the tender.
It was a gamble. Jaroslav Halak, Ray Emery and Roberto Luongo were all “available”. But, this route didn’t expend too many assets. By signing Scrivens and later, Viktor Fasth, MacT was putting his eggs in two unproven baskets, and the numbers were good enough to fall within NHL averages.
What do Oiler fans think?
I, for one, love it. Scrivens is a goalie who gets involved in the game, has passion, and heart to boot. And let’s not forget the record setting 59 save performance against the San Jose Sharks. It could be a sign of things to come.
Fasth and Scrivens should do well together this season, pushing one another to better heights.