Ben Bishop is 28 years old and has had one impressive season as a starting NHL goalie.
That, of course, came last season, when he went 37-14-7 with a .924 save percentage for the Tampa Bay Lightning. And for that, he was deservedly named a Vezina Trophy finalist.
But before last season he remained very much unproven. The 85th overall pick in the 2005 draft, he’d only started 38 NHL games in five seasons for the Lightning, Senators, and Blues.
Which is why he came into 2014-15 still somewhat unproven.
“I had one really good year this year — I think I’ve still got to prove myself,” Bishop said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “I want to be consistent year in and year out. I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder.
“I want to be even better this year.”
Except he hasn’t been. After 33 appearances, his save percentage sits at .910, ranking him in the bottom half of regular starters.
Moreover, at even strength, among the 29 goalies that have played at least 1,000 minutes, his save percentage ranks better than just four of his counterparts — Cam Ward, Ben Scrivens, Darcy Kuemper, and Mike Smith.
Those last three goalies — Scrivens, Kuemper, and Smith — in case you haven’t been reading PHT on a regular basis, have probably been the most maligned in the NHL this season. And at the moment, Bishop is a lot closer to them in terms of his stats than he is to the likes of Pekka Rinne and Carey Price.
Now, look, we’re not here to suggest that Bishop is going to become the next Jim Carey. All goalies go through rough patches. But, in all likelihood, Bishop will need to be better if the Lightning are going to make an impact in the playoffs. Currently, Tampa Bay ranks first in goal-scoring (that’s really good) and 15th in goals-against (that’s pretty mediocre).
The Lightning are in Boston to play the Bruins this evening. They’ve yet to announce a starting goalie.