Canadiens trade Zack Kassian to Oilers for Ben Scrivens

Montreal has traded winger Zack Kassian to Edmonton in exchange for goaltender Ben Scrivens. Kassian, 24, will report to the Oilers’ AHL club, the Bakersfield Condors, while Scrivens will head to the Canadiens.

With the trade freeze officially lifted Monday morning, the Montreal Canadiens have made a move to offload winger Zack Kassian, who was acquired in the off-season but didn’t play a single game with the organization, to the Edmonton Oilers for goaltender Ben Scrivens.

Kassian, 24, was only recently reinstated by the NHL following a stint in the NHL and NHLPA’s joint substance abuse program. In October, before the season began, Kassian was involved in a car accident in the early hours of Oct. 4. He suffered a broken foot and broken nose, and police said alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

Per the league, Kassian is still involved in the substance abuse program. In a release upon reinstatement, the league said Kassian “has entered the follow-up care phase of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program” and that his care “continues to be administered pursuant to the NHL/NHLPA SABH Program.”

The Canadiens placed Kassian on waivers shortly after he was reinstated by the league. Kassian cleared waivers, but Montreal had reportedly told him not to report to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps and Kassian did not report. The Oilers announced, however, that Kassian will be headed to the AHL, where he’ll join the Bakersfield Condors.

Kassian was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in the off-season in exchange for veteran tough guy Brandon Prust. The move saved the Canadiens some cap space initially, but created a much larger headache than the trade has eventually been worth.

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The Oilers dealing Scrivens to the Canadiens is a move that works well for both player and team. Scrivens had lost his starting job in Edmonton, then lost the backup gig and was now serving as an AHL netminder for the organization. The Oilers raised some eyebrows with the recall of goaltender Eetu Laurikainen from Finland’s Liiga — the move gave Edmonton three AHL netminders — but the trade of Scrivens opens a spot for Laurikainen.

Scrivens has a .893 save percentage, 3.47 goals-against average and one shutout in 10 games this season to go along with a 2-6-1 record in Bakersfield. This is the first season he has spent time in the AHL since 2012-13, and Scrivens hasn’t wowed in the AHL. That said, he’ll get a shot at backup duty in Montreal, as the Canadiens demoted current backup Dustin Tokarski to the IceCaps in a move that corresponded with Monday’s trade.

Per GeneralFanager, the Oilers retained $552,000 of Scrivens’ salary. The 29-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.