by PuckStopsHere on 02/02/14 at 06:30 PM ET
A quick look atop the saves percentage leaders finds Ben Scrivens leads the NHL with a .935 saves percentage. He is a newcomer to the Edmonton Oilers and has already shown his worth with a 59 save shutout against the San Jose Sharks. This has many around the NHL wondering about how good he is.
Scrivens is relatively unproven in the NHL. He has 32 games played over two seasons before this one began. He put up good numbers in the minor pro leagues - the ECHL and AHL. Many proven NHL goalies have weaker minor pro numbers. The problem is it is hard to make an accurate projection with such a limited sample size.
The biggest naysayer I can find on Scrivens is Steve Simmons who writes:
Ben Scrivens had a game for the ages, is a terrific person to talk to, but don’t get too carried away. I counted 41 goalies on NHL rosters I would rather have than him and that includes Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer
Simmons has frequently misunderstood and missed the point when discussing hockey from a statistical bent. I notice he doesn't even attempt it here. He merely lists the number of goalies (without naming most of them) who he thinks are better than Scrivens. Why does he think they are better? He doesn't say, but I presume it is because they have a track record. They have been around the NHL for years and proven themselves to be solid players. Scrivens has not done that yet.
Let's look at what Scrivens has done. He has posted a .920 saves percentage in his NHL career, which is now 56 games old. His numbers have consistently improved as he has played in the NHL. He is 27 years old and this is typically the age when goalies are in their primes.
Scrivens has not given us a large sample size of games, but he has been above average. I think that should be sustainable. The test for Scrivens will be when he is adequately scouted. Teams will look very hard to find a weakness in his game. They will force him to adjust his game to address the way they try to attack him. If he can do that successfully he will be a star.
It is very possible that Scrivens could be a star. It is also possible that he could be an average NHL goalie. Likely he fits somewhere in the middle. Steve Simmons viewpoint is as usual a laughable ne that he makes no attempt to support. He has a very good track record so far in his NHL career.
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