Trading Ben Bishop to Los Angeles was the only thing Steve Yzerman could do, other than keeping the pending unrestricted free agent for the rest of the season.
Bishop is not enjoying a particularly strong season, with a 16-12-3 record and a .911 save percentage.
Also hurting the market for the 30-year-old netminder is the fact there are not many teams in position to make the playoffs with poor goaltending. Jake Allen has turned it around for St. Louis, while Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson have been finding ways to get wins for Calgary.
Dallas, Philadelphia, and Winnipeg are too far behind in the race to address their goaltending now.
As for the Lightning, Yzerman said they still have hopes to make the playoffs. But that won’t be easy, given they’re seven points back of the second wild-card spot in the East.
It’s going to be another interesting summer for Yzerman. Pending restricted free agents include Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin, while pending UFAs include Brian Boyle, who’s reportedly drawn trade interest and could still be moved before Wednesday’s deadline.
The Lighting host Ottawa tonight with their new undisputed starter, Andrei Vasilevskiy, expected between the pipes.
“I believe, and time will tell, he has all the tools to be an excellent goaltender in the league for a very long time,” Yzerman said of Vasilevskiy, per team beat writer Bryan Burns.
Vasilevskiy, 22, is 11-13-5 with a .909 save percentage this season.