Sunday, February 26, 2012

Senators Take Bishop

2011/2012 Stats2012July 1st Details
To OttawaPosAgeMINWSOPCap HitYearsCap Hit
Ben BishopG250000$800k0UFA
To St. LouisPosAgeGPGAPCap HitYearsCap Hit
2013 2nd Round Draft Pick

On Sunday morning, the St. Louis Blues agreed to send goaltender Ben Bishop to the Ottawa Senators for a 2013 2nd round pick, boosting the goaltending situation in Ottawa after the injury to Craig Anderson.

Bishop is scheduled to become a Group VI unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but in order to get this deal done, the Senators got permission to start negotiating a contract for him, which should be done by the end of Sunday, which should seem him receive a 1-year contract extension, which will be a one-way deal.

In Bishop, the Senators get a huge goaltender (6' 7", 215 lbs.) with lots of minor-league experience and limited amounts of NHL time, but all that time in the minors, likely has him as one of the most NHL-ready goaltending prospects around.  What this trade does, however, is lessen the likelihood that Robin Lehner, the Senators' own goaltending prospect, will be getting a full-time job with the team in the next season or two.

Of course, there will be a solid competition for a job next season, but Bishop will have the experience to get him over the hump and at worst, become an investment for the team going forward.

In St. Louis, the goaltending tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, looks like it is locked in for the next little while, with Elliott signing a 2-year extension in January, so Bishop was likely going to hit unrestricted free agency, meaning that the Blues were going to lose him for nothing in the Summer, since it would have been unlikely that Bishop would have wanted to sign with the team again.  A 2nd round pick is very good compensation for a player they were not going to have after July 1st.

This is a puzzling deal to me in a sense, since the Senators were so high on Lehner as a prospect, but this deal signals that they cannot wait for Lehner to reach his full potential.  Bishop will likely take some reps in the Senators net, as they continue to fight for a playoff spot, waiting for Anderson to get better.

This deal also signals the end of Alex Auld's stay in Ottawa, as Bishop will likely get a good crack at being the back-up, if not fight for a starting job with Anderson next season.

I wonder what this will do for Lehner's value and/or if he becomes trade bait to another location in the NHL.  There may be some teams who are high on him and may be able to provide a different system and a better chance for his development.

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