Last summer, Ben Bishop was sure he was getting dealt to the Flames.
So sure, in fact, that he was reportedly discussing a contract extension with Calgary, before GM Brad Treliving flipped the script and traded for Brian Elliott at the draft.
Bishop then muddled through a difficult season that started in Tampa Bay and ended in Los Angeles. When the offseason rolled around, Calgary once again expressed interest. But this time, it was Bishop who flipped the script, agreeing to a trade to Dallas before signing a six-year, $29.5 million deal.
In the aftermath, Sportsnet reported Bishop had list of teams he wouldn’t accept a trade to.
Calgary was on it.
At this time, it feels prudent to unpack a few things:
• Per the Kelowna Daily Courier, Treliving made three different attempts to get Bishop over the last 11 months. The first was, as mentioned above, at last year’s draft. The second was reportedly prior to this year’s trade deadline, before Bolts GM Steve Yzerman consummated the deal with L.A. And the third, obviously, was prior to Bishop getting dealt to the Stars.
• Treliving shot down the Courier report this week, in speaking with the Calgary Sun. “I’ve heard I’ve tried to get him three or four times,” Treliving said. “Which isn’t correct.”
• Treliving continued discussing the Bishop situation, and rather candidly. Read into this what you will.
“We’re looking at goaltending, so it’s natural we’d be poking around. Did we look at it as an option? Yes.
“But the assumption we can make is that for the American guy who played minor league hockey in Texas coming to Calgary was probably not choice No. 1.
“And if he was, it was probably for a long time for a lot of dough.”
• It’s fair to suggest “a long time for a lot of dough” was the holdup last summer, given the Flames and Bishop talked contract before Treliving made the move for Elliott (who had one year left, at an affordable $2.5 million). It’s also possible Treliving negotiated, didn’t like how things were shaping up, and took the calculated risk of holding off on Bishop for a year to circle back in free agency.
• But was that too big a risk? In the aftermath, it’s become clear Bishop didn’t just think there was a possibility of getting traded. He thought he’d become a Flame.
“I thought the deal was done and whatnot,” he told Sportsnet’s Fan 590. “Obviously, it wasn’t. They went out and got Elliott.”
Eleven months later, Bishop wouldn’t even put Calgary on his trade list. So yeah.
In the end, it feels like both parties traveled an awful long way to get back where they started. The Flames, like last summer, are still on the hunt for a No. 1 netminder. Bishop, meanwhile, is in Dallas, which is where he says he wanted to be in the first place.