TORONTO– There’s a pretty simple reason as to why Ben Scrivens believes so much in Goaltending ConsultantFrancois Allaire.
“I’m a pretty rational guy,” said Scrivens. “I like to use reason and logic to guide my decisions, even in everyday life, and his system is logical and rational. For whatever reason it clicks with me. I can trust it easily because he can tell me something and I can see it in my head.”
Allaire has had the finger pointed at him on more than one occasion this season when both James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson were too inconsistent to solidify the number-one position with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
While both of them struggled, to the point where Gustavsson will likely be gone this off-season, Scrivens has improved every season he’s worked under Allaire.
“Sometimes Frankie gets a knock about being too rigid and I have to laugh because if you ask anyone that’s ever worked with him, if you say he’s too rigid then you didn’t want to learn,” said Scrivens.
Since signing with Toronto back in April of 2010 Scrivens has worked his way from the ECHL, where he was an all-star his only season there, to the starter on a first-place Toronto Marlies club and finally to Randy Carlyle’s choice of who would finish the season in net for the Leafs.
At each level of competition, the 25-year-old native of Spruce Grove, Alberta says that Allaire has had a big part in his development and much of it has to do with the fact that the goalie guru not only speaks to his goaltenders but listens as well.
“I tell him this is what I saw and this is what I read and it’s great to have the immediate feedback,” said Scrivens. “Having that support system at your fingertips is great.”
Scrivens suited up 12 games this season with the Leafs and made a valid case that he’s NHL ready as he led all Toronto goaltenders in save percentage.
He was the AHL Goalie of the Month for March after posting a .952 save-percentage and three shutouts, and is a major reason why the Marlies clinched top spot in the North Division and will see playoff action for the first time since 2009.
Unfortunately for Scrivens, all his success and recent accomplishments could be put on hold as GM Brian Burke stated at his end of the season address that the Leafs would be looking to add a veteran goalie. With Reimer already signed for another two seasons, if Burke does what he says then Scrivens would face another season as number three on the depth chart instead of possibly moving up to the NHL level.
“I understand the situation. It’s 100% out of my control,” said Scrivens. “All I can control is what’s on the ice. That’s one of those things where there’s a hundred scenarios that could play out. I can’t think of just one scenario. There’s no point in analyzing anything.”
Scrivens himself becomes a restricted free agent in the summer and there’s no reason to think that Toronto wouldn’t tender him a qualifying contract for next year. But with playoffs quickly approaching Scrivens feels his situation isn’t worth looking into until after the season finishes.
“If July 1st comes and I haven’t signed and they get a veteran we could make a decision at that point, but they could offer something before then too,” said Scrivens. “We could analyze until we’re blue in the face but in the end there’s no point speculating.”
Using his rational and logical thinking process, Scrivens knows that this off season will be the biggest of his young career. It would make sense for the Leafs to keep Scrivens as their number three but with so many holes to fill on a depleted Leafs’ roster, the better he plays this post-season the more his trade value could increase as well.
But whatever happens, he will continue to put his trust in Allaire.
“I’ve gone to Frankie’s camps in Europe ever since I was in college. If I was to move over the summer I’d still attend his camp over there.”