Despite almost being traded to the Calgary Flames around the time of the NHL Draft, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop is ready to focus on next season.
In just over a month, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be ready to charge back into the Amalie Arena and kick off the 2016-17 season with the hopes of a chance to once again play for the Stanley Cup. Strangely enough, for one Lightning player, that chance almost didn’t come.
As most of you know by now, speculation has gone from mere whispers to rampant rumors that Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop may be playing his final season here in the Bolts Nation. Unfortunately for Lightning fans, things almost went from bad to worse when there were talks of a Draft Day trade with the Calgary Flames.
Thankfully, this is one of those rumors that never made the jump to reality. The bad news is, something like this can sometimes get in the head of the player in said situation and start to affect how they play on the ice. The good news is, this particular situation doesn’t seem to be getting the best of Bishop.
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In an interview with Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Bishop has put the worries of a potential trade in the past and is ready to take the ice for the new season with a clear head and a sound body.
“I have a job in Tampa Bay, it’s still my job. That’s all I’m focusing on. If something happens, it happens.” Bishop told Smith.
Here is how things stand at the current time. At the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, Ben Bishop is set to become an Unrestricted Free Agent. Also, Bishop carries a no-movement clause in his contract which seriously restricts the ability to move a player off the roster.
Unfortunately, there is still a dark storm looming off in the distance. The Tampa Bay Lightning will only be able to protect one goaltender in the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft. There is no denying the Lightning have two players who are capable of taking the top spot, and with one of them out in the open it’s almost a certainty one will be taken.
On the other hand, if there is one thing we have learned in our time of watching hockey, nothing is ever certain until the ink has dried on the contract, and even then there are no guarantees.
If you ask our opinion, we would like to see Ben Bishop remain with the Tampa Bay Lightning for a few more seasons before handing the reins over to Andrei Vasilevskiy. This is not to say anything negative against Vasilevskiy; however, the fact of the matter is he hasn’t gotten a lot of ice time and could really use more experience before taking over the top spot full-time.
Since making his way to the Sunshine State, Ben Bishop has continued to break records and set the bar higher and higher between the pipes. If for some reason Bishop is not meant to be the future of the Tampa Bay Lightning, which we hope is another one of those unsubstantiated rumors, he will most certainly leave some pretty big shoes to fill; and not because he’s a beast at six-foot-seven-inches tall.
Only time will tell what the future holds for Ben Bishop and his time here with the Tampa Bay Lightning. As much as it pains us to say this when it comes to hockey, it is far more than a game, it’s a business. As the old saying goes, the logo on the front is more important than any name or number on the back.