Troubled Montreal Canadiens forward Zack Kassian will not get a second chance with the Habs, as the team traded Kassian to the Edmonton Oilers Monday for goaltender Ben Scrivens. Kassian was recently reinstated to the NHL after a stint in Stage 2 of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse Program.
The Canadiens did not seem to have an interest in further rehabilitating Kassian, as the team immediately placed Kassian on waivers — which he cleared — once he was reinstated before Kassian was technically sent down to the AHL’s St. John’s Ice Caps. The Canadiens, however, asked Kassian not to report to St. John’s.
The trade for Scrivens helps fill an imminent need in Montreal, as the Habs are searching for some goaltending help after backups Mike Condon and Dustin Tokarski failed to step up in the absence of injured Vezina-winning goaltender Carey Price. The Canadiens are 2-10-0 in December and have allowed three or more goals-against in nine of those 10 losses.
But Scrivens is not a shoo-in success story as a backup goalie. The 29-year-old has been playing for the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL this year and has a .893 save percentage in 10 games, hardly numbers indicative of a player primed for success at the NHL level. Still, Scrivens has 129 games of NHL experience, and he at least gives the Habs another option in net in the wake of Condon and Tokarski’s struggles.
It seems Scrivens will get his first chance with the Canadiens at the NHL level, as Montreal sent Tokarski down to the AHL after finalizing the trade for Scrivens.