Updates on the Lightning and Oilers – September 3, 2016
Ben Bishop was nearly dealt to the Calgary Flames, plus speculation on Mike Richards getting a training camp invite from the Edmonton Oilers.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Joe Smith reports Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop believed he was close to being dealt to the Calgary Flames during the NHL Draft in June. At one point, his camp was in the process of working out a potential contract with the Flames. However, Calgary management opted instead to acquire Brian Elliott from the St. Louis Blues.
Bishop is in the final season of his current contract with a $5.95 million cap hit and a no-movement clause. He’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency.
GM Steve Yzerman has acknowledged he’ll have to eventually reach a decision regarding his goaltending before the June expansion draft. Bishop understands trade rumors could persist throughout this season, but said he’ll keep his focus on winning games for the Lightning this season.
SPORTSNET: Among his “10 bold predictions for the 2016-17 NHL season,” Eric Engels believes the Lightning’s need to free up salary cap space to re-sign key players Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat means this season will be Bishop’s last with the Bolts. Engels believes promising Andrei Vasilevskiy is ready to take over the starter’s job with a veteran goalie backing him up.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop’s apparent willingness to talk contract with the Flames indicates they could become among his potential destinations if things don’t work out with Elliott. No word on the Lightning’s possible asking price, but I’m guessing it was high enough to push the Flames toward Elliott.
A Bishop trade is certainly possible by the Feb. 28 trade deadline, but not a certainty. His no-movement clause limits potential destinations, as does his nearly $6 million cap hit. His UFA status next summer is also a significant stumbling block.
Teams interested in Bishop will want assurances he’ll re-sign with them. Otherwise, it makes little sense to waste valuable assets on a rental goalie who could depart via free agency on July 1. Of course, much will also depend upon how desperate a playoff contender becomes to bolster their goaltending by the trade deadline.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples offers up his take on recent local speculation suggesting the Edmonton Oilers could extend a professional tryout offer to veteran center Mike Richards. While noting Richards’ weak scoring, Staples suggests the center’s puck sense and competitiveness could interest Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli.
630 CHED (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Chiarelli said he’d had some discussion earlier this summer about shoring up the right side of his defense. He could pick up those talks again but feels he’s pretty much done making moves for the foreseeable future.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing in Richards on a training camp tryout would be an inexpensive, low-risk option for the Oilers to fill their fourth-line center role.