Agent: All quiet on Ben Bishop trade front

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Allain Roy, the agent for Vezina-nominated netminder Ben Bishop, told the Tampa Bay times on Tuesday everything is “quiet” with regards to trade rumblings about his client.

If you’re asking “wait, how did we get to this point?” — allow PHT to explain.

Tuesday morning, a reporter from Tampa’s Fox13 tweeted this:

Nobody was sure what these reports were or where to find them, but hockey insider Bob McKenzie had a theory.

From his appearance on TSN 1040, by way of Today’s Slapshot:

“Somebody asked me about what will Calgary do now that they didn’t get Freddie Andersen, they were after Freddie Andersen from Anaheim. The Leafs got him and signed him. What’s their next move. And I said obviously they need a goaltender. They have talked, or they will talk, to the Tampa Bay Lightning about Ben Bishop. That was it. That’s all I said. The same as they’ve talked to Pittsburgh about Marc-Andre Fleury.

“Is it possible the Tampa Bay Lightning could trade netminder Ben Bishop? Yeah, absolutely it’s possible. I would have told you that during the Stanley Cup playoffs. They’ve got a cap crunch coming in Tampa, with or without Stamkos. Ben Bishop is a year away from unrestricted free agency. They’ve got a tremendous goaltender, a young goaltender in Vasilevskiy, who played very well in the playoffs. They’d be foolish not to explore their options. That’s not a news story. That’s not a flash.

“Now apparently some dim bulb in Tampa has started to say that ‘there’s reports out of Canada that Calgary has a deal in place for Ben Bishop,’ which, if they do, it’s news to me. I certainly didn’t say that, and I’m not aware of anybody else who did either.”

Bishop’s heading into the last of a two-year, $11.9 million deal with a $5.95M average annual cap hit. He turns 30 in November and while he’s been spectacular for the Bolts over the last two years, he is quite injury prone.

There’s also the Lightning cap situation to consider. Bishop wouldn’t be the only key player staring at free agency next summer — Victor Hedman, set to go unrestricted, will need a new deal, as will prized RFAs Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin.

Update: For what it’s worth, Bishop told the Tampa Bay Times that he expects to stay with the Lightning … but he’s not stressing out about it either way.

“I expect to be back,” Bishop said. “It’s never really crossed my mind going somewhere else. As far as I’m concerned, I have another year here and I fully expect to be back. If I’m not, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But I’m not going to sit here and worry about the ‘what ifs.’ It’s a waste of time.”

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.