Perhaps the Los Angeles Kings aren’t going to hand the job of Jonathan Quick’s backup to Ben Scrivens, as the Kings have invited Mathieu Garon to their training camp on a pro tryout.
Garon, a right-handed catching netminder who will turn 36 years old in January, is actually a former King. Drafted in the second round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, 44th overall, the Chandler, Quebec native came up in the Canadiens organization before breaking in with the Habs during the 2000-2001 season, and spent that season and the next two going up and down between the AHL and NHL before spending all of the 2003-2004 season as Jose Theodore’s backup. He was traded to the Kings in the summer. Garon spent the lockout with the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, before LA gave him his first chance to be a starting goalie in the NHL, as he played 95 games for Los Angeles in the next two seasons, before leaving as an unrestricted free agent to sign with the Edmonton Oilers. He has also played for the Pittsburgh Penguins (where he won a Stanley Cup backing up Marc-André Fleury), Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Garon’s not really all that good. For his NHL career, he has a 139-122-29 record with 20 shutouts, a 2.83 goals against average and .904 save percentage (while not allowing a goal in 36 minutes of playoff action in two relief stints over his career). He’s been a career backup for the most part in his 12 NHL seasons. His best season probably came back with the Habs in 2003-2004, playing in just 19 games and posting an 8-6-2 record with a 2.27 goals against average and .921 save percentage. He was pretty brutal with the Kings, posting a 31-26-3 record with four shutouts in 63 games in 2005-2006 with an ugly 3.22 goals against average and .894 save percentage, then playing in 32 games in 2006-2007 and going 13-10-6 with two shutouts, a 2.66 goals against average and .907 save percentage. This past season with the Lightning, Garon played 18 games, going 5-9-2 with a 2.90 goals against average and .897 save percentage.
I really can’t see Garon beating out Scrivens, who is younger and better than he is. Granted, Scrivens’ NHL numbers aren’t all that sparkling either — for comparison, he is 11-14-2 with two shutouts in 32 games and holds a 2.86 goals against average and .910 save percentage, though he improved last year in his first full NHL season (well, a full shortened season as mainly a backup, that is), going 7-9-0 with two shutouts in 20 games to go along with a 2.69 goals against average and .915 save percentage. Still, again, Scrivens is younger and better, and, well, under contract for almost league minimum. He was also an asset acquired in the Jonathan Bernier trade that the Kings spent a long time trying to put together. If Garon is willing to, I could see him getting signed to play with Martin Jones in Manchester, but I’d be surprised if he wins the Kings’ backup job over Scrivens.
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