Latest on the Lightning and Stars Goaltending – August 30, 2016

by | Aug 30, 2016 | Rumors | 31 comments

Is the upcoming season Ben Bishop's last with the Tampa Bay Lightning?

Is the upcoming season Ben Bishop’s last with the Tampa Bay Lightning?

 Ben Bishop’s uncertain future with the Tampa Bay Lightning and more speculation on the state of the Dallas Stars goaltending.

NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford reports Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop’s status next summer as an unrestricted free agent leaves him with an uncertain future in Tampa Bay. Bishop was the Bolts’ MVP last season and a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. With a cap hit of $5.9 million and promising Andrei Vasilevskiy ready to become a starter, this could be Bishop’s final season with the Lightning. 

While Bishop was linked to the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars in offseason trade rumors, Halford speculates the Lightning’s preferred move could be letting the big goalie’s contract play out. With the Lightning a Stanley Cup contender, retaining Bishop this season gives them a better chance of winning. Halford also points out clubs such as the Flames and Stars could prefer pursuing Bishop via free agency, rather than trading for him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Lightning intended to trade Bishop this summer, they would’ve done so by now. Yes, they’ll need to free up some salary-cap space when they re-sign Nikita Kucherov, but I think they’ll consider other options. As Halford points out, the Bolts chances of winning the Cup this season are better with Bishop sharing the duties with Vasilevskiy. Maybe that changes over the course of the season. For now, keeping that tandem intact seems the best bet.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS:  In a recent live chat with his readers, Mike Heika said he believes the Stars will start the upcoming season with their goalie tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi. However, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Stars bringing in a new goalie before the 2016 playoffs. Noting that teams can only protect one goaltender in next June’s expansion draft, Heika speculates that “could cause teams to consider trades they normally wouldn’t, especially after January.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good point from Heika about how the expansion draft could affect the trade market in the final weeks leading up to the Feb. 28 trade deadline. Maybe by that point, a goalie like Ben Bishop becomes available for the Stars. 


  1. I don’t think Bishop becomes available in 2016-17 at all. The Lightning are definite contenders and with a goalie tandem like that letting him play out his contract and letting the chips fall where they may might well be the smartest thing to do. If they do not resign him they have just under 6 million to address the other players needing contracts. The Lightning have shown tremendous patience dealing with these situations as both Stamkos, and Drouin prove this to be true. Vaseliskiy is not ready to go all the way as Tampa plays a tighter game with him in goal, having said that when he plays it’s hard to tell whose in goal as the size and style of both goalies are similar. As Vasileskiy matures they have a long term replacement for Bishop. With repeating so difficult and Washington’s perennial playoff tanking Tampa certainly should be considered a contender in the East. Stamkos must see something there in order to stay other than sunshine and tax free pay days. Today’s game seem to be as much about asset management as anything else and that management at times may involve letting players walk when their services are done.

  2. I would say the point Heika made has been greatly advertised in this forum by the likes of Striker and others. However it’s a really valid point and it would be shocking if a few transfers only because of expansion did not take place. Now Tampa does not have that problem yet as Bishop is not under contract come july 2 as of yet.
    I also have a hard time bashing Niemi and Lehtonen as they both been good goalies in the past, off-season for them? Maybe. Style of play from the Stars? Maybe. I think atleast one of them should pull of a better season, and if one of them play like a Price-light – then watch out all the other teams! 🙂
    I’m a capsfan, as I’ve stated before, but I’m a little bit jealous on the Stars’ forwards, especially due too the age of their heavy guns.

  3. Add Yzerman’s poker face to what I said above as evidence to Bishop staying in Tampa this year. He has proven himself to be a great manager, which doesn’t always happen from former players.

  4. If Im Tampa I hold on to Bishop for a playoff run. Their championship window is open and if theyre going to win it then it has to be now. Letting him walk after a Cup would be far less painful than trading him and losing in the first round. Really a gamble either way though.

    • It is a gamble, but what would they get for Bishop with 1 year left and expansion looming ? Likely a good rental price. Then do you flip it for a rental yourself to fill other holes?

      If you look at Tampa top to bottom(minus bishop), there biggest hole could arguably be not enough goaltending experience. So keeping bishop as kind of an own rental, makes a lot of sense. It’s not as if the return would be a top 10 pick or impact young player. I me Anderson had the most value of the goalies into free agency. He went for 30th overall and a 2nd. So chances are bishop won’t go for more.

      I say Yzerman knows this and just waits it out.

      • If Tampa allows Bishop to go to free agency they could bid on his services and win having the ability to offer an extra year.

  5. There is winning over a course of 82 games and there is winning in the play-offs. Two different things. Lehtonen and Niemi have not when it counts over their careers. Dallas is going to need two solid net minders with that defence….. Kucherov will need to give a discount and even with that I do not see a path forward. Hopefully Steve Y does .

    • Pretty sure Neimi has won when it counts, when he back-stopped Chicago to a Stanley Cup.

      • And that Ben Bishop turned up lame when he was needed in two consecutive playoff runs when he was needed for the bolts..

  6. I have serious concerns about the stars defense having lost Goligoski, Demers & to a lesser extent Russell as he was only there briefly & Hamhuis the only acquisition so far. Dallas’s D wasn’t great with those players.

    Of the anticipated D in Dallas next season Klingberg, Hamhuis, Oduya, Benn, Johns, Oleksiak, Nemeth & Lindell only Klingberg & Johns are righties.

    Someone some where yesterday recommended a 3 way deal between Buf, Anh & Dal with Ennis, Despres & Nichushkin switching teams but with Buf ending up with Despres, Dallas ennis & Anaheim Nichushkin. Dallas appears to have far more need for a Damn than Buffalo. Eliminate the Buf aspect & Dallas & Anaheim hook up in a deal.

    Despres a right handed D for Nichushkin? Other assets necessary to make fly?

    • Interesting thought. Dallas does not want to give up on Nichushkin but for a good D from Anaheim they may consider it. I think Dallas has some good young d men in their system who are NHL ready but Stanley Cup run ready is a different beast.
      I like the match between the teams for a deal however I cannot see ANA trading away Despres at this time as his contract fits great into their budget.
      Anaheim could move Stoner in a deal with a young player for Nic, but again Nic is just 21. They could move the oft talked about Fowler, I think it would cost 3 assets.
      Very good idea Striker as the 2 teams match up really well. Be nice to see some movement.

      • With expansion looming & unless Bieksa agrees to wave his NMC Anaheim is in a tough spot.

        Most assume Anaheim will move Fowler at some point for a LW on a ELC or cheap bridge deal; Nichushkin would potentially fit as a current RFA coming out of his ELC with zero leverage or production to date to warrant an significant contract.

        With only 2 formats available for protectors, even if Anaheim were to do this; move Fowler, in such a deal they would still have 4 keepers at D Bieksa; NMC, Lindholm, Vatanen & Despres. as well as the following forwards I assume they wouldn’t want to lose ideally. Getzlaf; NMC, Perry; NMC, Kesler; NMC, Silfverberg, Rackell, the player acquired in Fowler trade unless less than 2 years of NHL contractual experience not requiring him to be protected.

        That still means in either format Anaheim is exposing to good a quality player & I’m not sure Murray will be willing to make that sacrifice. Either Rackell if they choose to keep 4 D or Despres if they choose to keep 7 forwards.

        I can’t wait to see how all this is going to play out & when. Potentially moving Despres today to a team like Dallas for a player like Nichushkin & what ever other assets each team would exchange makes sense to me or something similar with another team.

        They could still entertain moving Fowler but at a later date prior to the expansion draft.

        I don’t see a market for Stoner but that said with a little enticement from Anaheim someone might bite. Regardless Stoner isn’t a protector nor a 3.25 mil per; 2 more years, Dman in today’s cap world.

      • Despres has such a team friendly contract unless Ana get a similar contract back I don’t see him moving.
        Yes the market for Stoner is weak. At some point something has to give.
        Wonder why it’s taking so long to sign Lindholm ?

      • I’ve been listening to the NHL network etc on Sat radio XM91 & no real info yet. It will get done. I assume their debating term & bridge issues.

  7. ? a player becomes a ufa when? he can talk to other teams the day after the draft but cant sign until July 1st. With the expansion draft held before the draft and before the ufa can talk to other teams, is he (the ufa) considered still property of the team and still needed to be protected or left unprotected by the team?

    • I believe the NHL said that pending UFA’s would be considered UFA’s for the purposes of the expansion draft. Not required to be protected if NMC’s are in place until 12:01 AM July 1st.

    • I was wondering the same thing. If T-Bay did leave Bishop unprotected would Vegas risk their goalie pick on him just to get the negotiating rights to him until July 1st? Also is there a limit on how many goalies, defencemen, and forwards Vegas can pick in the expansion draft?

      • Yes there are.

        TB can’t protect Bishop. For the purposes of the expansion draft he’s already deemed to be a UFA unless signed. Although he still won’t actually be a UFA until July 1st for the purposes of someone signing him as such.

  8. He will go to the Leafs

    • Who?

  9. there are very few NHL Blogs out there where the participants are actually able to articulate valid points (potential trades) without bias – this is one of them, a number of great points made here – thank you for posting

    • Your welcome.

  10. Pittsburgh and M.A.Fleury will be one of the more interesting situations to watch as the season progresses. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Matt Murray would need to be protected, so that doesn’t give Pitts much leverage in a trade nor does Fleury’s partial NTC.
    Fleury to Dallas? any other potential trading partners for him?

    • Methinks we won’t see anything until the trade deadline with contenders with goal tending issues having a look. Might be teams that look fine in net today.
      There are more well read posters on this site than I when it comes to expansion, but I am not sure they would have to protect MAF with only a partial NTC? May only be full NMC.

      • Myself I hate the idea of teams picking up goalies at the deadline for cup runs, it never seems to work and if your team has that big an issue with goaltending (hello Dallas) I just feel it should be dealt with earlier the better. Takes goalies longer to become acclimated with how the D plays in front of them… tough to get in a groove with the season winding down like that and I don’t think it’s the same as poling a forward or a D in the lineup.

    • At deadline I’m sure there will be plenty of teams looking for goaltending much like I look for teams like Pittsburgh and TB getting good solid value for those goaltenders. There will be no one sided trade like some of you are hoping.

      • There has been no goalie trades of significance at the trade deadline that I can recall. Maybe this year.

      • Ryan Miller to the Blues Dubnyk Bryzgalov…there has been a few maybe hard yo remember because generally for the most part they are grasping at straw moves that don’t work out.

      • Miller was traded for for Halak and other pieces moved in this deal. It wasnt quite a deadline day move but close enough.There were a lot of trades that year. Doobie did not play for the Habs or Nashville when he was moved. The Nashville move was a deadline move.
        Bryz, while not significant for most of his career was one of those pre trade deadline day deals. I dont believe he saw any playoff ice time with Minny that year.
        Overall Shticky your point is vaild for goalies during the season by the looks of things. However as I stated there have been no big moves on TDD that are worth mentioning in regards to keepers.
        With both POVs put together it looks like the off season is the best time to move a keeper. I believe you are close to getting to the reason why goalie trades never work out during the season.

  11. I think deals will be made with the expansion team to allow teams to protect more.

    • If I understand it correctly, they don’t have to protect MAF. But they might not want to lose him for nothing though!