There’s been significant goalie movement already this offseason, so no surprise suitors are now jockeying for Ben Bishop‘s services.
Per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, a “couple of teams” spoke to Los Angeles about acquiring the rights to Bishop, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Obtaining Bishop’s rights would open up a two-month negotiating window ahead of him hitting the market.
This news comes days after Carolina made a big splash in the goalie market — acquiring Scott Darling’s rights from Chicago — and with another potential target, Marc-Andre Fleury, showing extremely well for Pittsburgh.
Bishop, 30, just wrapped the last of a two-year, $11.9 million deal with a $5.95M average annual cap hit. His season was largely forgettable. Caught in a difficult situation with Tampa Bay — splitting time with goalie-of-the-future Andrei Vasilevskiy, and distracted by contract uncertainty — Bishop had just a .910 save percentage in 32 games with the Bolts, before getting flipped to L.A. at the deadline.
With the Kings, Bishop wasn’t much better. His save percentage dropped to .900, and the club failed in its attempt to rally for a postseason push.
This might’ve knocked some of the luster off Bishop, but probably not that much. He’s only one year removed from a banner ’15-16 campaign in which he was the Vezina runner-up, and finished 10th in MVP voting. He also posted three straight 35-win seasons with the Bolts, including a career-high 40 in ’14-15.
Still, he might not be in line for a huge payday or lengthy term. For as good as his resume is, Bishop turns 31 in November and has a history of health issues.
Teams believed to be interested include Calgary and Dallas, most notably.