The Dallas Stars traded for pending unrestricted free agent goalie Ben Bishop on Tuesday, sending a fourth-round pick (which originally belonged to the Montreal Canadiens) to the Los Angeles Kings.
It’s a move that, frankly, had been coming for two years. The Stars had looked into acquiring Bishop before last season, but couldn’t figure out the right deal, and this past season there was hope they could bring Bishop in around Christmas.
So it seems that Bishop, a former member of the NAHL’s Texas Tornado, was bound to be a member of the Stars eventually.
With that in mind, I wanted to share a couple quick thoughts after taking an evening (roughly six hours) to think about the trade and what it means for Dallas.
-The Stars are going to get a deal done. They know what Bishop is looking for and have had discussions with his representation to gauge expectations. Don’t be surprised if a deal is hammered out within a week.
-This is a “win-now” move for the Stars, who have full belief that this past season was a fluke and they should be amongst the contenders in the Western Conference next season. It’s also a bold move, and bold moves keep star players (Tyler Seguin) happy and makes it easier for them to sign when their current contract expires.
-No matter what the Stars do with Kari Lehtonen, this will upgrade the goaltending situation. If it’s Lehtonen and Bishop, it will still be better than Lehtonen and Antti Niemi. If it’s Bishop and another younger goalie (which it should be in my opinion), it’s a still a good fit that sets up the Stars well for the future.
-Dallas will have to address the “goalie of the future” question sooner than later, this just gives them a couple years to figure it out. It would make sense to find that young goalie this offseason, the expansion draft is the perfect opportunity. But if the Stars truly believe they have a goalie prospect in the system (maybe it really is Landon Bow) that will be ready in two years, Bishop is the perfect stop gap for that.
-The term and money of the contract aren’t going to look good out of the gate. Bishop is likely going to get close to $6 million per season, and it could be a six-year contract. That could be frustrating long-term. But it’s important to look at the short-term solution and benefits, and remember that you can always buy out a bad contract at some point.
-The Stars still need to get better defensively. That’s on both management (in the offseason) and Ken Hitchcock to install a better defensive system in front of Bishop. No goalie can succeed with how the Stars played defense this past season.