The first thing on the Kings' off-season to-do list was to trade dissatisfied backup goalie Jonathan Bernier, and today Dean Lombardi got it done. Bernier will be suiting up in Maple Leaf blue come September, while Ben Scrivens will be backing up Jonathan Quick. Also joining the Kings will be bottom-six winger Matt Frattin and a second-round pick in 2014 or 2015 (Leafs' choice).
Although Bernier came into the Kings organisation as the presumptive future in net - you don't spend an 11th overall pick on a kid whom you think is destined to be a career backup - he was never able to leapfrog Jonathan Quick on the depth chart and his camp was open about his desire to be traded to somewhere he could be a starter. Holding on to Bernier last summer turned out to be a smart decision, as he kept the Kings above water while Quick was returning to form after his back surgery, and played out the last year of his bargain-basement deal. Now, with Quick recovered, and Bernier about to hit RFA status, Bernier clearly had to go.
Last summer, the going rumour was that Dean Lombardi would only move Bernier for a prospect and a first-round pick. Frattin, Scrivens, and a second-round pick isn't quite such a rich return, but it still looks like it should do the trick for the Kings. The need to acquire another goalie, particularly at the expense of several assets, is a bit puzzling from the Leafs side, but that's not our problem, now is it? Taking a look at the newest LA Kings:
Despite his babyface, Frattin is 25, having played four full seasons at UND. He had a crazy points explosion in his final NCAA season, then spent 2011-12 and 2012-13 split between the NHL and the AHL. This past season, he was 7-6-13 in 25 games with the Leafs, with an 11.8 sh%, and an average of 12.5 min TOI. While listed as a RW, he also plays on the left side quite a bit. He spent the majority of the season lining up with Clarke Macarthur and Nazem Kadri, also spending time on lines with Leo Komarov, Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski, and, uhh, Ryan Hamilton (the Leafs are weird). Here are all his stats, and here are his #fancystats.
At 25 already, it's unlikely Frattin is ever going to explode into a high-scoring superstar. That being said, he provides much-needed depth on LW, which is now by far the Kings' weakest position. Given that it seems like the Kings are pushing Tyler Toffoli to make the conversion to LW, and given the limited cap space available/uninspiring group of UFAS this summer, the lineup for 2013-14 may look something like this:
Frattin is signed until the end of the upcoming season, at a $925,000 caphit and $950,000 actual salary. There are no known restrictions on his contract, and he'll be an RFA when it's expired.
Also, one time he and Joe Finley chucked a lawnmower (amongst various & sundry other items) off the roof of a garage. (And then he ran from the cops, like a champ.)
Ben Scrivens is a somewhat difficult case to study. As his numbers show, he was an elite goalie in the NCAA before signing with the Leafs. (Yes, both Frattin and Scrivens are NCAA products - Dean Lombardi's affinity continues.) He then spent 2010-11 split between the ECHL and the AHL, and had an excellent 2011-12 season backstopping the Marlies on their Calder Cup run (where this uncharacteristic - but hilarious - goal happened). His .920 EVSV% from this past season was certainly below Bernier's .932 but a)the Leafs defence and b)small sample sizes - he's only played 32 NHL games in his entire career.
As for Scrivens' style, he's Francois Allaire-trained, so it's a butterfly variant. Maple Leafs Hot Stove described it as an "economical butterfly style". I've only seen Scrivens play briefly, but I can already tell that he's going to give me heart palpitations - after getting used to Quick's lightning-fast movement and puck-tracking, watching what looks like slow-motion scrambling is almost unendurable. Still, after reading some interesting stuff he had to say about his style and positioning (eg, here). I'm very impressed by how thoughtful he is in his approach to playing goal, and I'm not worried that Bill Ranford will find him easy to work with.
Look, a video of Ben Scrivens doin' stuff:
Scrivens is also signed through the 2013-14 season, at which point he'll be a UFA. His caphit is $612,500 and his actual salary is $625,000 actual salary. This is noteworthy because, caphit-wise, the Kings will be paying a shade under $6.5 million for their goaltending tandem next season. That isn't exceptional value, but it's manageable. I'm guessing that the million dollars in capspace difference between Scrivens and Steve Mason might have been one factor causing Dean Lombardi to steer away from the Flyers' offer (assuming that offer involved a Matt Read-calibre player, not a Sean Couturier or even a Jakub Voracek, in which case, uhh...).
Also, and I know this is worthless as far as hockey-playing goes, but it's kind of nice that Ben Scrivens seems like a solid human being. If you read his twitter, he engages with hockey writers, both pro and amateur, and seems like a real student of the game. Plus, he's done some great progressive things (the plan is for him to march in Toronto's Pride Parade next weekend, although I'm not sure if that's still happening - I hope it is).
Let us know what you think - and say your goodbyes to Jonathan Bernier - in the comments section. Are you concerned that the Kings let Bernier go? Excited for increased bottom-six depth? Relieved to get one of those second-round picks back (damn it, Regehr)?
Most importantly, won't it be such a relief not to have to talk about endless Bernier trade rumours anymore? And how hilarious would it be if somebody offer-sheeted Bernier the day after the Final ends? Super-hilarious, right?
Happy trails, Jonathan Bernier. Thanks for being a trooper, and beating the Predators all those times, and maybe we'll see you in the Final someday.