Ben Bishop is entering this season without a guaranteed starting role in Tampa Bay after Andrei Vasilevskiy played extremely well down the stretch and into the playoffs last season. In an interview with the Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times on Friday, he said that “(a trade) looked like for a little bit it was going to happen. At kind of the last minute (the Flames) went out and got Elliott. It was close, but there was never… It wasn’t that close, obviously.”
While the Flames would eventually trade for Brian Elliott to fill their crease, a move including Bishop might still be on the horizon. The netminder is owed $5.95MM this year in the final season of his deal, and was overtaken by Vasilevskiy in the playoffs after he injured his ankle. While Bishop is unsure of his future, the Lightning inked Vasilevskiy to a three-year extension this summer that will pay him $3.5MM per season through 2019-20.
If GM Steve Yzerman decides to start the season with the two goaltenders, he’ll surely receive plenty of interest throughout the year as other netminders go down to injury. While he can’t keep both long-term, as an expansion draft for the new Las Vegas franchise would surely select one of them should they both be under contract, Bishop could be a huge piece to dangle should something similar to the Carey Price injury happen to another team this season.
For now, Bishop is just trying to push all the trade speculation out of his head, and focus on hockey. He’s one of the goaltenders set to report to Team USA camp for the upcoming World Cup in a few days, though it’ll be another fight to get ice-time – Cory Schneider and Jonathan Quick are the other two.