Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Trade of Lightning goalie Bishop to Flames was 'close' at draft

Ben Bishop thought he was headed to Calgary.

Bishop — a two-time finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league's top goalie — was one of the league's most sought-after trade targets during the June draft in Buffalo. The Flames, in need of a No. 1 goalie, were hot on his trail and received permission from the Lightning to discuss contract with Bishop, who is entering the last year of his deal at a $5.95 million salary cap hit.

Bishop, 29, said his representatives were working out a potential contract with Calgary, but the Flames instead acquired Bishop's former Blues teammate Brian Elliott from St. Louis on June 24 for a second-round draft pick and a conditional third-round pick in 2018.

"It looked like for a little bit it was going to happen," Bishop said Friday. "At kind of the last minute (the Flames) went out and got Elliott. It was close, but there was never … it wasn't that close, obviously."

"Close" could be a matter of perspective. Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said after the draft that he hadn't been close to making a deal. Flames GM Brad Treliving declined to comment about Bishop. But that the situation got to the point where Bishop, who has a partial no-move clause, was talking contract with the Flames and considering a trade, things were at least advanced.

And it makes one wonder if Bishop might be in Calgary if negotiations had gone better. Elliott, though less heralded than Bishop, is cheaper, in the last year of a $2.5 million deal.

Bishop, arguably the best goalie in Lightning history, wants to stay in Tampa Bay. That made for a whirlwind draft week for him, traveling from the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas — he was a Vezina finalist — back to his hometown, St. Louis.

"It was a tough time," Bishop said. "I went to Vegas for the awards when I found out there was a possibility I might be traded. Going to the awards and in the back of (my) mind (I was) worried about it. It was definitely an emotional week.

"I have a job in Tampa Bay. It's still my job. That's all I'm focusing on. If something happens, it happens."

The good news for Bishop is that he's healthy, saying he has recovered from an ankle injury that ended his season in Game 1 of last season's Eastern Conference final against the Penguins. Bishop will be in Columbus, Ohio, this week for U.S. team training camp for the World Cup of Hockey being held Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto.

Bishop called his selection for the U.S. team a great honor. He's excited and anxious about wearing his country's jersey, but he doesn't know if he will put on a Lightning sweater for the Oct. 13 season opener.

Yzerman has said that with an expansion draft coming in June, he will eventually have to make a decision about which of his top two goalies to keep, Bishop or Andrei Vasilevskiy, 22, who signed a three-year extension in July for a $3.5 million annual average. Only one goalie can be protected in the expansion draft for the Las Vegas franchise that begins play in 2017-18.

Bishop, who has been traded twice in his career, said he will try hard not to think about the big picture during the season if he's with the Lightning, narrowing his focus to his usual game-to-game routine. Bishop's prime example is how captain Steven Stamkos, in the final year of his deal last season, handled the saga of his lack of a contract extension and the resulting media attention.

Still, it's hard not to think this could be Bishop's final season in Tampa Bay.

"That goes in your head, and then you think you might have a great year and be with Tampa Bay the rest of your life," Bishop said. "You can look at it both ways. You try not to think about it, because then it … starts to make you upset."

Bishop chuckled at the end of that last sentence. He's not mad. He would love to stay but knows as fun as the sport is, the league is also a business.

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Comments
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final last season, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning announce home opener: Oct. 6 vs. Panthers

Lightning announce home opener: Oct. 6 vs. Panthers

The Tampa Bay Lightning will announce their full 2018-19 schedule on Thursday, but the league announced each home opener Wednesday, with Tampa Bay playing host to the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena on Saturday, Oct. 6.The Lightning will know their ...
Published: 06/20/18
Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman is talking from a hotel room in Las Vegas and admits he's a little jet-lagged."Actually, very jet-lagged," Hedman says.That's what happens when you take a flight from Sweden to the party capital of the world.But he knows exactly what he...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

The Ottawa Senators traded winger Mike Hoffman on Tuesday, hoping to solve an ugly off-ice issue involving star defenseman Erik Karlsson and his wife. The Senators sent Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, who then dealt him to the Florida Panthers. All t...
Published: 06/19/18
Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Thanks, Vegas. That’s what NHL general managers are saying this offseason after the Stanley Cup Final run of the expansion Golden Knights contributed to what’s expected to be a healthy increase for the salary cap. With elite center John Tavares, No. ...
Published: 06/19/18
Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz abruptly stepped down as coach of the Washington Capitals on Monday after failing to agree to terms on a new contract, a stunning move that left the newly minted Stanley Cup champions without a coach with the draft later this week and wit...
Published: 06/18/18
Lightning re-signs goaltender Eddie Pasquale to two-way deal

Lightning re-signs goaltender Eddie Pasquale to two-way deal

The Lightning re-signed goaltender Eddie Pasquale to a one-year, two-way contract general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.Pasquale, 27, split this past season between the Syracuse Crunch and Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League. He...
Published: 06/18/18
Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

TAMPA — The Lightning will open its seven-game preseason schedule at home with a 7:30 p.m.  game Sept. 18 against the Carolina Hurricane, the team announced Thursday.That is one of three home games the Lightning will play in a preseason sc...
Published: 06/14/18
Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Sixteen months after acquiring Peter Budaj from the Kings, the Lightning today returned the veteran goaltender to Los Angeles.The Lightning traded Budaj for forward Andy Andreoff, general manager Steve Yzerman announced in a news release.Andreoff, 27...
Published: 06/13/18
Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

This past season didn't end the way Lightning fans might have hoped, but that's no reason to lose hope.In fact, oddsmakers are more bullish on Tampa Bay than any team in the NHL for next season.According to at least one sports betting site, the ...
Published: 06/08/18