The Toronto Maple Leafs made a lot of bold moves this past offseason. Through the first two months of the season, many of them have not worked out.
They didn't re-sign Clarke MacArthur, who is currently excelling in Ottawa after signing what has turned out to be one of the best free agent contracts of the summer. They bought out Mikhail Grabovski, a strong two-way player throughout his career that had one bad lockout shortened season where he didn't score enough for his $5 million cap hit, so they could pay David Clarkson even more money to score even less.
One move they did make that hasn't really done much damage the on-ice product was the trade that sent goaltender Ben Scrivens (half of the goaltending duo that helped carry Toronto to the postseason last season) and forward Matt Frattin to the Los Angeles Kings for goaltender Jonathan Bernier. It may not have made the team much better, but if nothing else it was a lateral move that continued to give them the type of two-headed monster in net they need to win.
One of the main principles in that deal -- Bernier -- will be facing off against his former team on Wednesday night when the Kings visit Toronto.
Scrivens is expected to backup Martin Jones who will be making his second consecutive start for the Kings. Even though Scrivens won't be in the line up both goalies have been playing some outstanding hockey this season and both enter play on Wednesday in the top-10 in the NHL in save percentage (Scrivens is first with a .943 mark, while Bernier is ninth at .929).
For the Maple Leafs, Bernier is giving them exactly the front office hoped he would give them. A platoon partner with James Reimer that has helped form a wildly productive 1A and 1B situation that has given the Leafs the type of goaltending they're going to need to have a chance given how many shots they surrender every night. As long as those guys are posting a .930 save percentage the team is going to hang around.
The real surprise is what the Kings are currently getting out of Scrivens.
With Jonathan Quick just one year removed from a Conn Smythe Trophy performance during the Kings' Stanley Cup run and signed to a 10-year contract, Scrivens was never supposed to be anything more than a backup to give Quick the occasional night off. But when Quick went on injured reserve with a groin injury that he suffered in a mid-November game against Buffalo, that thrust Scrivens into the No. 1 role.
To say that he has taken the opportunity and run with it would be quite the understatement.
In the 13 games since Quick has been out of the lineup the Kings have a 9-1-3 record and carry a four-game winning streak into Toronto, including a 6-0 win in Montreal on Tuesday. Scrivens has been a huge part of that success, as the Kings have allowed just 17 goals and recorded four shutouts over that stretch (two of them belong to Scrivens).
The only time they allowed more than two goals in a game over that stretch was a 3-2 shootout loss to the Sharks, with the third goal being the winner in the shootout.