After a 59-save shutout of the San Jose Sharks, Ben Scrivens has given the Edmonton Oilers reason to believe he might be the answer in net going forward.
He is also set to become a unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
The question is, do the Oilers sign the 27-year-old to a new deal, whether it be short or long term? Or do they trade him in hopes of maximizing his potential value?
It's hard to believe that Edmonton will stand still and let Scrivens walk away at season's end for nothing.
At this point, the Spruce Grove, Alta., native's value might be higher than ever. Scrivens leads the NHL in save percentage (.937) and is second in shutouts (four). He is also third in goals-against average (1.93).
You can point to the strong numbers and credit the defensive prowess of Los Angeles Kings, who are second in goals against with 116 and with whom Scrivens played 19 of his 23 games so far this season, but that isn't the whole story.
In four starts with the Oilers, albeit a small sample size, Scrivens has arguably been better. His save percentage with Edmonton - who by the way have allowed a league-high 190 goals - is .024 higher than with the Kings and his goals-against average is .21 lower. His 2-2 record in Edmonton his indicative of a poor defensive squad, not his individual performances.
He continues to earn opportunities to carry the load in net, but on the other hand, is goaltending really at the top of Edmonton's wish list right now? With a defence that has trouble defending, does it matter who anchors the crease? Other priorities may take precedence to locking down an unproven starter.
Management and ownership are running out of time and fans are running out of patience. Suffering at the bottom of the league for draft picks just won't do.
Unless the Oilers choose to sign Scrivens, he remains one of the few expendable and currently valuable assets on the team.
Scrivens' flashes of brilliance and stretches of success were alive and well in two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and this year with the Kings, but once he came back down to Earth, so did his value.
So, is Scrivens the rock in net that is going to lead the rebuilding Oilers into the future? Or is it time for Edmonton to get as much out of the streaky goaltender as possible on the trade market?
As always, it's Your Call!