For those fans of the Ottawa Senators thinking that Ottawa will get a king’s ransom for Ben Bishop should they decide to trade him at the deadline, they are sadly mistaken. Not only are there probably going to be a glut of goaltenders on the market, such as Jonathan Bernier, Miikka Kiprusoff and Ryan Miller among others, there is another reason why he won’t fetch what you would expect. And you can look across the ice at the team that the Senators are facing Saturday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Last season, the Lightning kept Dwayne Roloson around 1 year too long and it cost them. They had a league-worst 3.39 goals against average and missed the playoffs despite having the 9th most productive offense. Needing an upgrade, Steve Yzerman went out and got one of the top rated backups in the league, former Predators understudy Anders Lindback. He was supposed to be ready for prime time after studying under Pekka Rinne for two years, compiling solid numbers.
Tampa paid a pretty steep price for Lindback’s rights, two second rounders last summer and a third rounder this year.
Needless to say, the Lightning haven’t gotten the results they expected. Obviously playing in a more offensive oriented system, Lindback’s numbers are well off what he posted in Nashville. They are not to the depths of what Roloson posted last year (3.66 GAA,.886 SP), but they are well below average for the NHL. Tampa has moved from 30th in GA last year to just 24th this year. All this while the offense has actually provided more support, moving from 9th in goals last season to a tie for 2nd so far this year.
Which brings me back to Big Ben Bishop. The comparisons are really very similar between Bishop and Lindback. They are both big (6’6″ for Lindback, 6’7″ for Bishop) and both have had similar success as a NHL backup, before Lindback’s experience as a starter this season. Bishop is a couple of years older than Lindback, but by and large both had the same level of competition. Both had (have) plenty of potential to be elite NHL goalies.
But when teams look around and see what the unknown commodity (Lindback) has done in Tampa, you can’t help but wonder if it is affecting what they would be willing to offer to Ottawa for Bishop. Bishop has played well for the most part in a relief role, but hasn’t shown he can handle starting every day. So in the end, Ottawa is better off keeping Bishop as a Senator and maybe trying to get something done at the draft.
But like it or not, he’s not going to net a huge return.