Friday, April 5, 2013
Rumblings: Bolts score with goalie Bishop
By Pierre LeBrun
My favorite trade of the deadline was easily the Ben Bishop deal.
It was a win-win for both teams, with the Ottawa Senators getting a young top-six forward in Cory Conacher, and the Tampa Bay Lightning making a huge gain by adding another potential starting goaltender.
This isn't about ending the Anders Lindback project, as some of the knee-jerk reaction on social media suggested Wednesday.
This is about doubling your chances that between two young, promising goaltenders, one of them emerges as a 1A.
And who knows, maybe both do. Or maybe neither does.
But why not improve your odds twofold?
"Good move, with good potential," a Western Conference team executive told ESPN.com Thursday, requesting anonymity. "The big test is if one of them can grab the job and become a legit No. 1 starter. Looks like Lindback isn't there yet; now it's up to Bishop to be that guy."
They'll both get a shot.
"By no means am I giving up on Anders Lindback, not a chance," Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told ESPN.com Thursday. "He's a good young goalie. And I made a commitment by trading for Anders Lindback, and I believe Anders Lindback has the ability to become a good starter in this league.
"I want to provide him with the support he needs, and part of that support is having a good partner. I want the best possible tandem I can put together moving forward."
In Lindback, 24, and Bishop, 26, Tampa has a young 1-2 punch in goal heading into next season, giving the team a shot at finally rising up the ranks in goals against.
"Both of them will get a great opportunity to play," Yzerman said. "I'm not going to sit here and designate who the starter is next year. They'll both get a chance to play and play a lot, and it'll work itself out."
Veteran Mathieu Garon has been a pro as the backup, but with his contract up after this season, Yzerman began to look ahead. Garon is a solid backup on a team whose starter is more solidified, like a Carey Price or Pekka Rinne.
But with Lindback still finding his way, I think Yzerman felt he needed to give him more protection moving forward.
"If I had one of these guys who plays 70 games a year, then I can be a little more conservative with the second goalie. But I've got a really young goaltender in Lindback that we think has a lot of promise, and I don't want to put him in a position where he has to play 70 games. Ben Bishop provides that support and Ben Bishop has a tremendous upside as well.
"I'm not designating either one the starter. They'll both get tremendous opportunity to play."
I suspect, though I can't confirm it, that Tampa also kicked the Los Angeles Kings’ tires on Jonathan Bernier before the deadline and that the price was too high.
Frankly, given Jonathan Quick's up-and-down season, it made more sense for the Kings to keep Bernier as insurance for another Cup run, then figure out what to do with him this summer.
In the end, Yzerman got a guy in Bishop who has starter potential written all over him, just as Lindback still does.
It's a win-win in my mind.