A lot of focus this off-season has been given to the Tampa Bay Lightning's future in net with Kristers Gudlevskis and Andrei Vasilevskiy. There's been drama tied to Evgeni Nabokov's signing and ties to that future in net. What about the present, what about Ben Bishop?
Leave it to the Lightning to grab our attention on a Saturday afternoon in August to announce Bishop has signed a two-year contract extension with the club through 2016-17, eliminating a potential headache of having Bishop becoming an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Bishop, acquired by the Lightning in 2013 from the Ottawa Senators, severed not only as the club's #1 goalie last season but as a workhorse, playing in 63 games and going 37-14-7 with a .924 save percentage and a 2.23 GAA. He was a finalist for the Vezina award for the NHL's top goaltender in 2013-14.
All these feats were accomplished while Bishop played roughly half the season with ligament damage in his stick-handling wrist, the initial injury was sustained during a loss to the Edmonton Oilers, which clearly affected him as the season progressed. Bishop's season was ended after dislocating his elbow during a late season game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. There was a chance he would have returned in the playoffs but... well, the Lightning being swept by Montreal in the first round pretty much kept that from happening.
Bishop's contract extension gives Gudlevskis and Vasilevskiy time to develop in the AHL. Either one could be backing up / sharing duty with Bish in 2015-16.
Per Pierre LeBrun, the financial terms of the deal have been disclosed:
This is probably already out there but in case: Ben Bishop 2 x $5.95 M AAV— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) August 2, 2014
The deal, which doesn't kick in until the 2015-16 season, also carries a full no-move clause for both years.