Is Los Angeles Kings Goalie Ben Scrivens More Than Just a Backup?

What has Dean Lombardi done?

It's a question many Los Angeles Kings fans must have been asking early on this season.

Jonathan Quick was off to a slow start and Jonathan Bernier was long gone. Lombardi traded Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the offseason in exchange for Matt Frattin and Ben Scrivens. Frattin struggled mightily early in the season, while Scrivens remained on the bench as Quick's backup.

It seemed clear that Toronto had "won" the trade.

Fast-forward to late November. Quick is on injured reserve because of a groin injury and Scrivens has been dominant in his place. Frattin is improving, but the play of Scrivens alone is enough to silence any critics of the Bernier trade. 

In fact, Scrivens has played so well he may have the potential to be a starting goaltender in the NHL.

Scrivens made four appearances prior to Quick being injured in overtime of the Kings' November 12 game versus the Buffalo Sabres. 

Two were relief appearances during which he stopped 11 of 13 shots. His first start was a 20-save shutout against the Florida Panthers. In his second start, he allowed three goals on 33 shots to the Phoenix Coyotes. As of November 28, that's his only regulation loss of the season. 

Scrivens is 5-0-3 in Quick's absence and hasn't allowed more than two goals in any of those eight games. With these consistent performances, he has managed to work his way to the top of the league in a few key statistical categories.

Taking those numbers into account, the answer as to whether he's more than a backup seems obvious. But is it possible that Scrivens is simply benefiting from strong team defense? Or perhaps this is a hot streak and Scrivens won't keep it up long-term. 

The Kings do possess a group of strong two-way forwards and elite players like Anze Kopitar, who buy into the defensive sys...

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