Friday, January 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Ex-Lightning goalie Ben Bishop signs with Stars

Former Lightning goalie Ben Bishop has found a new long-term home, likely enabling him to end his career where it began.

Bishop, 30, signed a six-year, $29.5 million deal Friday with the Stars, who had acquired his rights from the Kings on Tuesday. Bishop, a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist with Tampa Bay, returns to an area where he went to high school (Frisco) and played before college (NAHL's Texas Tornado).

"So excited to be in my old stomping grounds!" Bishop said on Twitter.

Bishop, who could have been an unrestricted free agent July 1, traded term (six years) for a smaller annual average salary ($4.91 million), roughly $1 million less than what he made in each of his last two years with the Lightning ($5.95 million). But Bishop, who is getting married this summer, gets long-term security, including a no-move clause, and a shot to be a No. 1 goalie for a talented Stars team that missed the playoffs this season.

"This looks a lot like the team we had in Tampa when I first got there," Bishop told the Dallas Morning News.

Bishop spent nearly four full seasons with the Lightning, securing several franchise records and leading it to back-to-back lengthy playoff runs in 2015 (Stanley Cup final) and 2016 (Eastern Conference final). But Tampa Bay decided last summer it was going with 22-year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy as its long-term starter. That made for a stressful year of trade rumors for Bishop, who was nearly dealt to the Flames at last year's draft.

Bishop was traded to the Kings before this season's March 1 deadline, netting defense prospect Erik Cernak, backup goalie Peter Budaj (who can be an unrestricted free agent July 1), a seventh-round draft pick and a conditional pick.

But the Lightning also gained precious cap space for this summer, when it needs to sign restricted free agents Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat.

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