Tampa GM Yzerman was interested in Bishop, rumored to covet Schneider

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Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times has an interesting piece on Lightning GM Steve Yzerman’s search for a goalie.

Ben Bishop, recently acquired by Ottawa from St. Louis for a second-round pick, will make his Sens debut Tuesday against the Lightning — an ironic debut, because Yzerman was one of Bishop’s chief suitors at the deadline.

“I did know that [the Lightning] were very interested going down the line,” Bishop said. “I don’t know how close they got, but it doesn’t matter who the opponent is, you just want to play well, especially in your first game.”

Upon learning Tampa Bay was interested in Bishop, Cristodero connected the dots:

  • Thanks to his deadline wheeling and dealing, Yzerman has a bunch of high 2012 draft picks (two first-rounders, three-second-rounders) and a conditional second-rounder (in 2012 or 2013, Florida’s choice.)
  • Ergo, Yzerman could’ve outbid the Senators.
  • Cristodero: “That he chose not to — Yzerman has said he wasn’t willing to give up a second-round pick — means there were either some red flags on Bishop’s resume (perhaps his lack of NHL experience) or that Yzerman is after another goalie (speculation is he likes Vancouver’s Cory Schneider).”

At 6-foot-7 and coming off a stellar campaign with AHL Peoria, Bishop is high on promise. But the allure of Schneider — who, through 60 career NHL contests, has posted a 32-15-4 record with a .925 save percentage and 2.34 GAA — is greater because he’s a proven commodity.

It’s worth noting that Schneider will become a restricted free agent at season’s end. While signing RFAs has traditionally been dicey/rare — only six have been inked since the lockout — Yzerman’s positioned to make a move. He’d be able to surrender Tampa’s picks (compensatory picks have to be originals, not acquired) yet still be active at the draft.

He could also paint Vancouver into a financial corner. From Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal:

According to CapGeek, the Canucks have a little over $55 million committed to next season already.  Between Pahlsson, Raymond and Salo they have more than $7 million coming off the books, and those players will all need to be replaced.  With Luongo earning north of $5 million, keeping Schneider for backup duty at that price-point could be a difficult decision to make.

In closing, I have to stress this idea is purely speculative. There’s no evidence Yzerman would go the offer sheet route, especially since several GMs consider it dirty pool.