Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop is willing to waive his no-trade clause, making him available in next week’s expansion draft according to a report from Mathew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News.
Bishop’s willingness to do that clears what could have been a big headache for the Stars heading into Wednesday’s draft.
Players that have no-trade clauses have to be protected from the expansion draft unless they agree to waive them. Being forced to protect Bishop would have created a scenario where Dallas would have had to expose Anton Khudobin, which is almost certainly not the direction they would have wanted to go. Khudobin has been a key piece for the Stars the past two seasons and figures to be part of their long-term plan in goal alongside Jake Oetinger (who is exempt from the expansion draft) after his promising rookie season.
Bishop did not play at all during the 2020-21 season as he recovered from offseason surgery.
He has two years remaining on a contract that carries a salary cap hit of $4.916 million per season.
He presents an interesting situation for Seattle.
[Related: Lessons Kraken, rest of NHL can take from Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft]
On one hand, when he is healthy he is one of the best goalies in the NHL and could be a difference-maker for any team. If you wanted to try and draw a parralel to the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft process he could, in theory, be their version of Marc-Andre Fleury. A veteran, high level goalie that can show up immediately and be a stabilizing presence in the net for a team that might have some flaws. Goalies are always X-factors for teams.
How good has Bishop been?
Of the 36 goalies that appeared in at least 100 games between 2017-18 and 2019-20 (Bishop’s first three years in Dallas) he ranked second in the NHL in all situations save percentage (.923), tied for fourth in even-strength save percentage (.924), fourth in penalty kill save percentage (.889), and third in shutouts (14). Across every objective measure he has been one of the best goalies in the league and has been a Vezina Trophy finalist three different times, including a runner-up two different times. That most recently happened during the 2018-19 season in Dallas.
On paper the Kraken should be very interested in that.
The concern though would be the fact he is going to be 35 years old this season, has not played in over a year, is coming off major surgery, and still carries a pretty significant contract.
There is a potentially high reward here. But there is also a high risk.
If Seattle does not go for Bishop, Florida’s Chris Driedger (who is eligible for unrestricted free agency, and a player they would have an opportunity to negotiate with ahead of the expansion draft) could be another intriguing option.
Several other teams have made moves ahead of the expansion draft regarding players with no-trade clauses. Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner has already agreed to waive his, while Minnesota bought out Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Florida also bought out Keith Yandle on Thursday.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.