Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press has profiled one of the more unheralded and intriguing developments of this hockey season — the play of St. Louis Blues third-string goalie Ben Bishop.
Bishop, 25, has been outstanding for AHL Peoria this year (23-13-0, .929 save percentage, 2.25 GAA, six shutouts) and was recently named MVP of the league’s All-Star Game.
Oh, and did we mention he’s 6-foot-7?
“I’ve always been one of the tallest,” Bishop said. “I never had to really go through one of those stages where I had to adjust to my body, where I grew five inches in one summer. I’ve always been one of the taller ones and I think that’s part of the reason I wasn’t uncoordinated or anything like that.”
Bishop has NHL experience — he played six games in 2008-09, then another seven last season — and was expected to back up Jaroslav Halak this season, only lose the job in training camp to Brian Elliot. You know how the story goes from there: Elliott caught on fire and made the All-Star Game, Halak rebounded to post brilliant numbers, the Blues signed Elliott to a two-year extension and suddenly, Bishop was the odd man out.
“I expected to be in the NHL (this season),” said Bishop. “I thought I came off a good year last year. … I had a good training camp and I still think I should have been the one that was chosen, but obviously they went with Elliott and he’s run with it. You’ve got to give him credit.”
With several teams in need of a young goaltending prospect — here’s looking at you, Tampa Bay, Columbus and New Jersey — Bishop could be an affordable, cost-effective solution compared to the likes of Cory Schneider and Jonathan Bernier.
Bishop says he’d welcome a deal at the deadline but knows he’ll likely get some attention this summer, when he’s set to become a UFA.
“I think I know where I’m at, I think the Blues know where I’m at and I think 29 other (NHL) teams know where I’m at,” Bishop said Thursday in an interview. “If something happens, something happens. If not, I go into the off-season and become an unrestricted free agent and go on from there.”