On Sunday night, the Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning made a bit of a head-scratching trade. Tampa sent goaltender Ben Bishop and a 2017 5th round pick out west for goalie Peter Budaj, 19-year-old prospect defenseman Erik Cernak, a 2017 7th round pick and a conditional pick in 2017.
To say that’s a light return for Bishop — who our friends at Raw Charge called “the best goaltender in Lightning history” — is maybe an understatement. Bishop is going to be a free agent this year, but he was certainly the best rental-type goalie on the market. It might seem like an awkward fit for the Kings, who already have Jonathan Quick and probably won’t keep Bishop beyond the summer.
But nevertheless, the expectation is that Bishop would have yielded a bigger return. Not even a first round pick for a guy who had a save percentage above .920 in his five years with the Lightning? Disappointing if you’re a Bolts fan.
As it turns out, it was the best deal general manager Steve Yzerman could find.
Yzerman on trading Bishop to Kings: "That was the deal that made the most sense and it was the only option I had."— Caley Chelios (@CaleyChelios) February 27, 2017
Some here in Philadelphia have been talking about selling off one of either Steve Mason or Michal Neuvirth here at the deadline. After all, both are free agents at the end of the season and it’s possible that neither of them are in the cards for next season. Some have even speculated that the reason Neuvirth started six games in a row through the Stadium Series game on Saturday was to showcase him for a trade. (He probably hurt his case with his play more than he helped, but nevertheless.)
If you were hoping the Flyers would move a goalie here at the deadline , the Bishop trade should recalibrate any of those hopes. If Bishop returned a backup goalie, a mediocre prospect and meh draft picks, what do you think Neuvirth or Mason is going to bring back? I mean, not to be too harsh or anything, but they have both played like utter crap this season. They wouldn’t have returned much had they been playing well, but after their poor years, in this market ...
Probably not even worth picking up the phone. There’s not going to be much of a market -- if there’s any market at all — for these guys at this deadline.