Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press
Why he could be traded
Bishop is eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1. The Lightning have over $60 million invested in 14 players and must also re-sign forwards Tyler Johnson, Jonathan Drouin and Ondrej Palat. They won’t have sufficient cap room to pay Bishop a big raise.
Andrei Vasilevskiy is Bishop’s heir apparent. Starting next season, he’s under contract through 2019-20 at an annual salary-cap hit of $3.5 million.
Bishop has a no-movement clause. However, on Sep. 2, he told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times he was nearly traded to the Calgary Flames last June. He’s obviously willing to waive it to go to a playoff contender.
Bishop, 30, ranks among the NHL’s elite goaltenders. Last season, he was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. At 6’7″ and 216 pounds, he covers a lot of the net. With his puck-handling skills and agility, he’s very difficult to score against.
Injuries have frequently sidelined Bishop. On Dec. 21, the Lightning announced he would miss three to four weeks with a lower-body injury. Prior to getting hurt, he was struggling with his consistency. His stats this season (2.79 GAA, .907 save percentage) are well below his career averages (2.33 GAA, .919 save percentage).
The Dallas Stars need an upgrade in goal, but they must first move either Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi. The Winnipeg Jets are struggling with their young tandem of Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson. Bishop could be a good fit for either club, but they could prefer he re-signs a new contract first.