VIEW FROM THE OTHER HALF: MATT FRATTIN AND BEN SCRIVENS


The NHL season is just a mere 10 days away and LA Kings fans’ crush on Matt Frattin seems to get bigger and bigger by the day… no really… I’m starting to get a little worried actually.

Really, really worried…

So to get a true sense of what us LA Kings fans can expect from “2nd Line LW is his Job to Lose” Matt Frattin and fellow trade partner, Ben Scrivens… I thought I’d ask some “experts” from “Canada” for their viewpoints on the 2 newest LA Kings. Plus, since I donated to their charity fundraiser, they were legally required by Canadian law to write a blog post for me. So from the amazing Toronto Maple Leafs blog, Pension Plan Puppets… here is PPP‘s thoughts on Frattin and Scrivens.

Frattmower_medium

Hello Los Angeles fans, I’m PPP from the eponymous blog and I’ve been asked to tell you a bit more about what you can expect from newcomers Ben Scrivens and Matt Frattin, previously of my beloved Maple Leafs. I’ll spare you the basics of hockey since I’m sure that you’ve learned quite a bit over the past two years since you discovered that Los Angeles had a team but I’ll try to give you a sense of why you should be pleased to have these two join your team.

Matt Frattin is definitely the more interesting of the two if only because of his pedigree and colourful history. He was drafted 99th overall (the same position as James Reimer coincidentally) in 2007 and attended the University of North Dakota where he toiled in relative obscurity until he was arrested and kicked off of the team for the crime of being hilarious when drunk. Who hasn’t had too much to drink in university and decided to launch objects into the air in order to see them smash? To be fair, I’m being a bit glib as that incident masked some larger issues which Frattin overcame in a testament to his character on his way to being named the WCHA player of the year but still, it gave us the picture above which I think made it all worthwhile.

One thing that you’ll notice about Frattin is that he is almost impossible to knock off of his skates – the sight of players bouncing off of Frattin won’t be uncommon – and he throws absolutely monster hits:

He’s the kind of player that fans will always love and possibly overrate. He showed off a fantastic shot in college and carried it into the pro ranks and marries that to some good wheels and a dogged determination. He made his pro debut with Toronto’s AHL team and put together an impressive Calder Cup campaign in 2012 where he scored 10 goals in 13 playoff games before picking up a serious knee injury scoring this empty net goal:

That performance came on the heels of a decent first NHL season and was enough to move him from eighth on our Top 25 Under 25 ranking to fifth by the time the lockout came:

I kept Matt Frattin right where he was because he’s exactly where I expected him to be. He is an NHL player, and that’s great, but he doesn’t have the upside of the players I ranked ahead of him so he stayed put. With Frattin we all know more or less what we’re getting.

He plays hard, is almost impossible to knock over, has a hell of a shot when he can find time and space, and is more or less ok defensively. He’s also 24, if he were a few years younger I might be inclined to rank him higher, but he’s not. I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that he’ll probably score 20 goals in a season sometime thanks to a favourable shooting percentage, but he’s probably going to be a 15 goal guy who can provide some energy, which is great.

He’s what people wanted Colby Armstrong to be at a fraction of the price. He’s a great story, and I enjoy watching him play, but he didn’t show me anything I wasn’t expecting to see. His performance in the AHL playoffs was great to see but the kid should be tearing up the AHL at his age if he hopes to make the NHL. If anything I might have ranked him too high, but I’m okay with where I had him because I think he’ll be a regular contributor to the Leafs for a few years, which is more than I can say about a lot of the players below him. Finally with Frattin, keep in mind he’s only like 4 months younger than Kessel.

- A Plea From A Cat Named Felix

Last year he had an unsustainably high shooting percentage but he has the tools to succeed in a more offensive role especially considering it looks like the Kings will be lining him up alongside Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. He was used almost exclusively at even strength but he has the skating and smarts that always made me think that he could in theory be used on the PK and the size and hands that he could contribute on the powerplay.

Ben Scrivens

Ben Scrivens is another NCAA product, this time from Cornell, and it’s apparent from following his twitter feed that he’s a pretty smart guy. There’s something to be said for guys that don’t get a CHL education I guess. His Vine isn’t half bad either:

His career started in the ECHL with the Reading Royals with a 10-3 record in 13 games. After that, he polished his game in the AHL which included two deep playoff runs including a run to the Calder Cup final that was basically ended on this ridiculous goal:

His NHL body of work hasn’t matched the heights of his minor league play but it has been passable and shown improvement and he is on an incredible cheap contract. The Leafs were also kind enough to help defray some of the costs because why the hell not? Last year he did well enough to hold down the fort when James Reimer picked up an injury and will make an acceptable backup for the 3 or 4 games that Quick doesn’t play. He’s a bit of an adventure when he plays the puck but that just makes the games more exciting.

The trade that saw Frattin and Scrivens head to the best coast was hailed by everyone since the Leafs picked up future Vezina winner Jonathan Bernier but because we’re just so damned contrarian over at PPP we alone wondered whether the Leafs might have been sacrificing some helpful pieces (and a second round pick) for a marginal upgrade in the grand scheme of things. It’s a complicated argument but worth reading:

All in all – I just don’t think the price made sense for Bernier. I think he’ll be a decent goalie in the future, and probably above average, but losing the goal production we’ll see out of Frattin, and the cap space we could have saved with Scrivens in goal as a backup, and the $500,000 gift we granted the Kings, not to mention the 2nd round draft pick, is something that will be difficult to compensate for.

At the end of the day, the Kings managed to grab a couple of cheap players that seemed to be not only useful players but good people. Frattin may eventually prove to be in over his head on the second line but would be useful on the third line while Scrivens will give a steady hand at backup. If Quick is injured, Scrivens probably won’t be a guy that steps in and keeps the team ticking without missing a beat but he’ll be good enough for an elite team like LA. Add in the salary that the Leafs kept and it becomes a pretty shrewd move by Dean Lombardi. Take good care of them Kings fans.

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones.You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.