Ever since James Reimer went down with concussion-like symptoms nearly a month ago, Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens have been fighting for playing time. Now the question is, when Reimer finally returns, who deserves to be his backup?
Both goalies have played well during their stints in goal, and both have had some bad games. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a record of 5-6-1 record since Reimer went down, which brings their total record to 10-7-2
I'm going to take a look at five categories that compare Gustavsson and Scrivens, and then make a conclusion on who I think should go forward as the Leafs backup goalie.
Gustavsson: Nine games played, four wins, four losses, 29 goals against, .878 SV%, 3.78 GAA
Scrivens: Seven games played, two wins, three losses, one shootout loss, 19 goals against, .899 SV%, 2.95 GAA
Although Gustavsson has more wins than Scrivens, most of his wins have come when the Leafs gave him a lot of goal support. Although he had that one bad game against Boston, most of Scrivens' losses have been low-scoring, close games.
Gustavsson: Third NHL season
Scrivens: Rookie season
Even though Gustavsson has appeared shaky throughout his two seasons with the Leafs, nothing can beat actual NHL experience. Scrivens is in his rookie season, so this one is clear.
Ben Scrivens has come in, much like James Reimner last season, and has given the Leafs a better chance at winning than Gustavsson has. Gustavsson has apparently lost a job for the second straight season and his confidence may have taken another hit.
Now this doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but the fans are a big part of a team so I'll include them.
I can probably speak for many a Leafs fan when I say that I just don't feel confident in the Leafs' chances when Gustavsson is between the pipes. Like Reimer, Scrivens puts Leaf fans a little more at ease when we are watching a game.
Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens, in my opinion, have very different futures when it comes to the Maple Leafs. Gustavsson is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent come July 1. He will more than likely want to go to a team where he has a chance to be a starter again.
Scrivens, on the other hand, could serve as an effective backup to James Reimer for years to come.
Well, as you can see, I believe that Scrivens is the better long-term choice as a backup goalie. That being said, playing Gustavsson more now might showcase him to other teams in case of a trade, but it also might end up diminishing his trade value if he plays badly.
The best bet is to just let Scrivens handle the load for now and assume the backup role when Reimer returns.