29-Year-Old Goalie – Tampa Bay Lightning
Ben Bishop Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $11.9 million extension with the Lightning in August 2014.
Bishop's (ankle) chances of starting the season in Tampa Bay grew Friday night when he wasn't traded during the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Bishop blew the doors off Tampa Bay last season and ended up getting a Vezina nomination for his efforts. The question will be whether he can replicate his performance. Bishop isn't just a one-hit wonder -- he has a better cumulative save percentage (.921) than Carey Price and Pekka Rinne since the 2010-11 season. Not only is he a stud, but he's also playing for a huge payday; he's on the last year of a $2.2 million deal and is due for a massive raise. He'll get it on the heels of another fantastic season. Take advantage if you have the opportunity.
Bishop didn't exactly knock the doors off the Bolts' dressing room after he arrived in Tampa Bay last year. He was fine, but not spectacular with some rather pedestrian numbers (3-4-0, .917 and 2.99). Still, he's quick and technically sound for a guy built like a giraffe (6-7, 215), and has the intangibles to be an NHL starter. But he and Anders Lindback will likely end up in a platoon this season, with the Bolts rolling whomever has the hottest hand. Utlimately, Bishop may emerge as the clear-cut starter, but that won't happen this season. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
Acquired for a 2013 second-round draft pick in late February, Bishop was immediately thrown into the lineup to play for the injured Craig Anderson, who suffered a freak injury to his hand while cutting chicken after a game against Washington on February 22nd. The 25-year old Bishop spent several years in the Blues organization developing his technique and he played quite well for the Sens after being dealt to the team, going 3-3-2 with a .909 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against average. He has the inside track on serving as Andersonís backup this season and if he does beat out goaltending prospect Robin Lehner, Bishop should get a solid 15-20 games in. Remember his name in keeper leagues, as the towering netminder has a bright future.
Itís been three long years between the pipes for the AHL Peoria Rivermen, but Bishop will get an opportunity to be a full-time No. 2 goaltender in the NHL. The Blues are going to give him a chance to compete in training camp to be Jaroslav Halakís backup. The big question is if Bishop is ready for the NHL. He got a brief look-see with the Blues when Halakís hand injury forced him to sidelines in February. And while Bishopís overall numbers were not great, a lot of the damage occurred in two bad periods and the team in front of him wasnít playing very well at the time. As a backup, the Blues would only be looking for him to play 20-25 games.
Bishop emerged as the No. 1 goalie for Peoria of the AHL, and improved his play, despite backstopping a porous defense. With the top two goalies established in St. Louis, Bishop will return to Peoria to form a tandem with the rising Jake Allen (juniors last year). The organization likes both goalies and will give each an opportunity in the AHL, to see who gets a leg up in the competition to back up Jaroslav Halak in 2011. Ty Conklin will serve in that capacity this season.
Bishop is slated for another season in Peoria of the AHL. He'll get regular starts and coaching from the recently hired Ed Belfour. There's not much in his way on the NHL roster, as Chris Mason is in the final year of his contract, and Ty Conklin is viewed as a backup.
Bishop is likely to get the bulk of playing time for the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL this season as the Blues determine if and when he is able to step up to the NHL. A solid season this year may get him there next season. Even if injuries hit Manny Legace or Chris Mason, it's unlikely Bishop would get much playing time this year but the Blues would love to see the hometown product between the pipes soon.
Bishop recently underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. That alone makes him a longshot to crack the Blues' roster this year. Look for Bishop to spend another season at the college level.