Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish spent a busy Wednesday trading away a goalie the organization once thought would be its No. 1, only to later acquire a goalie that will likely be given the opportunity to be its next No. 1.
In separate deals announced less than an hour apart, the Oilers sent Devan Dubnyk to the Nashville Predators in exchange for veteran forward Matt Hendricks and acquired Ben Scrivens from the Los Angeles Kings for a third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
GAA: 1.97 | SVP: 0.931
The Oilers now have Ilya Bryzgalov and Scrivens as their goaltenders, with each player on an expiring contract. Edmonton will carry $1.75 million of Dubnyk's $3.5 million salary-cap charge as part of the trade with Nashville, according to CapGeek.com.
The deal reunites Scrivens with Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins, who was his coach in the American Hockey League with the Toronto Marlies for parts of the past two seasons.
"He played very well for Dallas and he's got a shot to come in here and really establish himself in the National Hockey League," MacTavish said. "It was important that Dallas gave him the thumbs up in terms of his relationship with Ben."
Dubnyk, 27, has struggled this season, going 11-17-2 with a 3.36 goals-against average and .894 save percentage in 32 games. He started the season as the Oilers' undisputed No. 1 goalie after finishing last season with a .920 save percentage and 2.57 GAA, but the team signed Bryzgalov on Nov. 8. Each has played 14 games since Nov. 25.
Dubnyk was taken by the Oilers with the 14th pick of the 2005 NHL Draft.
"We really felt for everybody it was time for a change with Devan," MacTavish said. "I think this change is really going to benefit Devan as well. I think it's been tough on everybody, and that includes our goaltenders. It's a fresh start for Devan, which is important for him. He's a guy who's always been a consummate professional for us."
Dubnyk will provide the Predators with a veteran presence in goal while starter Pekka Rinne continues to rehabilitate from arthroscopic hip surgery to remove a bacterial infection. Rookie Marek Mazanec has played the majority of the games with Carter Hutton as his backup. However, Predators coach Barry Trotz went public with criticism of Hutton's play in a Jan. 5 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Hutton has played once since then, making 22 saves in a 4-2 win against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.
"This has nothing to do with Pekka and his recovery," Predators general manager David Poile said during a press conference. "This was all about winning hockey games with no timetable for Pekka's return.
"We've been trying for quite some time to acquire a goalie. We wish we could have done it earlier, but we are glad it occurred today. We very much believe Pekka is coming back. There is still no timetable on his return, and Dubnyk is great to fill in that spot.
GAA: 3.36 | SVP: 0.894
Scrivens was a success story for the Kings earlier this season after starter Jonathan Quick went down with a groin injury. Scrivens went 6-1-3 from Nov. 14 to Dec. 2. He had two shutouts and didn't allow more than two goals in any of his 10 starts.
However, rookie Martin Jones got a start on Dec. 3 and proceeded to win eight in a row before losing three straight. Quick returned and Jones was sent back to the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL, but the Kings felt he had proven himself as a NHL goalie, making Scrivens expendable. Shortly after trading Scrivens, the Kings recalled Jones from Manchester.
Scrivens, 27, is 7-5-4 with a 1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage this season. He is 18-19-6 with a .917 save percentage and 2.54 GAA for his career.
"He really emerged when Jonathan Quick went down to injury the first time. Ben came in and played outstanding in relief of Jonathan," MacTavish said. "He was making a case for himself as a No. 1 NHL goaltender in those starts that he had. That caught everybody's attention and what's given him this great opportunity."