With arguably the worst goaltending situation heading into the eye of the NHL’s offseason storm, reports are that the Calgary Flames are targeting Ben Bishop for their starting role.
The Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender is coming off a season in which he play 61 games with a record of 35-21-4. He collected an unbelievable 2.06 goals against average and a .926 save percentage to go along with six shutouts.
Along with Washington’s Braden Holtby and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick, he was nominated for the Vezina Trophy this year as the league’s top goalie. While he didn’t come away with the award, his numbers alone set him apart from others in the league.
The Lightning do have options in net with Andrei Vasilevskiy almost ready to take on the role of starter for the franchise. Both Bishop and Vasilevskiy have just one year left on their respective contracts. At just 21-years-old, Vasilevskiy seems to be the option for the future. His cap hit is $925,000 for the upcoming season and he’ll become an RFA at the end of the year.
On the other hand, Bishop is due $5.95 million in 2016-17 and will become an unrestricted free agent following the season. In other words, this would be the perfect opportunity for the Lightning to see what they have in Vasilevskiy and move on from Bishop.
The issue is that Bishop’s contract has a no-movement clause, according to Cap Friendly.
Over his career, Bishop has a record of 130-65-20 in 231 career regular season games. He has a career 2.29 goals against average, a .920 save percentage and 18 career shutouts. In the playoffs, he has a 21-13-0 record with a 2.09 average and .927 save percentage in 36 games.
While he’s dealt with some injuries over his career, the Flames would take a huge step forward if they are in fact able to acquire Bishop from the Lightning.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.