TORONTO- The Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender Ben Scrivens have finally agreed to a new contract extension.
The 26-year-old was tendered an offer by Toronto back in early July and after months of negotiations the two sides came to an agreement on Wednesday for a two-year deal.
During the process Scrivens never showed any interest in leaving the Toronto organization, which would be difficult for a restricted free agent to do anyway. Instead he wanted to assure himself the best possible scenario for his future.
“It’s a big weight off for me,” said Scrivens about putting pen to paper. “It was a long summer and I have never really been through a process like that. (But) a lot of times that’s how negotiations work. We had things we were looking for and management had their guidelines. It was just a matter of finding that middle ground.”
“I was prepared to sign once I was happy with it in terms of where the contract was going to leave me for development and opportunity.
The Spruce Grove, Alberta native’s new contract is a two-way deal for the first season and will become a one-way for the 2013-14 season. The top end will pay him $625 000 annually* while the bottom end has yet to be revealed.
By signing today, Scrivens was able to get his deal in place before the potential NHL lockout that’s expected to take place on September 15th.
“It was just coincidence right now,” said Scrivens about the timing of his deal. “But, with that being said I don’t know how you cannot look at the deadline as something you have to be aware of. I didn’t really want it to carry on too much longer.”
Scrivens isn’t guaranteed a spot with the Leafs but would be James Reimer’s back-up based on the organization’s depth. The two-way deal in the first year shows that the Leafs may be willing to send him back to the AHL but current CBA rules state he would have to clear waivers to move up and down.
“Obviously I want a chance to prove I can play at the NHL level,” said Scrivens. “If there’s no NHL then no one’s getting that chance so you play the next best level you can. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Last season Scrivens guided the Leafs’ affiliate Toronto Marlies to the Calder Cup finals after putting together an award winning regular season. With the AHL club he went 22-15-1 with a league-best 2.04 GAA and .926 save percentage. Those numbers earned him the Happ Holmes award for the starting goalie on the team with the fewest goals against. He also suited up in 12 NHL games and posted a 3.13 GAA and .903 save percentage.
* UPDATE CapGeek.com lists Scrivens’ contract at $600 000 in year one, $625 000 in year two