Under Pressure: Ben Bishop

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This post is part of Stars Day on PHT…

For a contract year, things could’ve gone better for Ben Bishop.

It started in Tampa Bay, where he felt he was playing okay, but “goofy goals on tips and bounces, goals off your own players” kept beating him.

It ended in Los Angeles after being traded at the deadline. In seven games with the Kings, he went 2-3-2 with a .900 save percentage. Not great.

Still, despite finishing with an overall save percentage of just .910, Bishop was a hot commodity heading into free agency. The Stars, desperate to upgrade their goaltending, traded for his rights then signed him to a six-year, $29.5 million deal.

After getting his guy, Stars GM Jim Nill called Bishop “an elite goaltender in this league.” Which was a fair comment to make, given we’re talking about a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist.

But of all the offseason acquisitions the Stars have made, nobody will be under more pressure to perform than the 30-year-old netminder.

“I think it’s a great team. It has a lot of potential,” Bishop said, per NHL.com. “With [Ken Hitchcock] coming in [as coach] the sky is the limit and I am excited to be a part of it.”

We all know how things have gone in Dallas the past three years. In 2014-15, the Stars had the second-worst team save percentage (.895) in the league. In 2015-16, the year they won the Central Division, it still wasn’t very good (.904). Last season, it was the NHL’s worst (.893).

And so the Stars bought out Antti Niemi and got Bishop. Kari Lehtonen is still around, but his contract expires next summer.

There’s an old saying that goes: “Goaltending is 50 percent of hockey. Unless you don’t have it, then it’s 100 percent.”

No team has encapsulated that saying better than the Dallas Stars the past few years. And that must change if the Stars are to become legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.

Bishop absolutely, positively cannot flop.