Having devoted some digital ink to benefits of bringing in Josh Harding as free agent last summer — Harding ultimately re-signed with Minnesota before July 1st — I was planning on penning an article to stress the point that the Senators should avoid the trade market for a back up goaltender.
Don't get me wrong, having watched Alex Auld's performance last night and with there being no guarantee that Robin Lehner can take the ball and run with it in Craig Anderson's absence, there was a need for a reliable backup goaltender.
Now Senators fans and management are hoping that Ben Bishop is that guy. After a few tweets from Andy Strickland and Bruce Garrioch confirmed that the Senators and St. Louis Blues were discussing a trade, reports are coming in that Bishop has been acquired for a 2013 second round pick.
As an impending Group VI free agent, the 25-year old Bishop would have qualified for unrestricted free agency had he failed to appear in 15 NHL games this season. With Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott boxing him into an AHL role, had to trade Bishop or risk losing him for nothing on July 1st.
There are some conflicting reports that Ottawa has agreed to a one-year one-way contract extension with Bishop, however Strickland just wrote that Senators management will be talking to Bishop's representatives this afternoon.
The 6'7" 205 lb goaltender is not only massive, he's putting up some big numbers in the AHL this season. To date, he has a 24-14-0 record, a GAA of 2.26 and a save percentage of .928. And for those who want to believe that some AHL accolade has some bearing on his future success, Bishop was named as the 2012 AHL All-Star Game MVP.
Unfortunately, much like Robin Lehner, Bishop is an unproven NHL commodity. As easy as it is to get caught up in Bishop's potential and size, he's still the same goalie that GM Doug Armstrong boxed into an AHL job by re-signing Brian Elliott for two more years. In 13 career NHL games, Bishop has a 3-4-0 record, one shutout and carries a 2.83 GAA with a .896 save percentage.
Considering that tomorrow's the NHL Trade Deadline, perhaps management felt a sense of urgency to make a deal to protect the team's playoff interests? Or, maybe the injury to Anderson's finger is worse than they have let on?
As much as we can discuss the risks that an extended injury to Anderson could present, isn't this exactly the risk that the Senators inherited when they made a conscious decision to give a workhorse like Craig Anderson a contract extension last season?
Now obviously the stakes have changed considerably since the start of season. The Senators have exceeded all expectations and are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot, but with ownership and management espousing the benefits of a sticking to its original 'three year rebuilding plan', I would have preferred the organization holding onto whatever future assets they have so that they could be better spent on a more pressing need in the offseason.
At its core, the Senators moved a valuable future asset to address a short-term need at a volatile position. Personally, it's an asset that I would have preferred seeing the organization actually move in a package to fill a more pressing long-term need like the defence. With a workhorse in Anderson signed for three more years and at a position in which a number of decent alternatives are always vying for a limited number of jobs in free agency, it's an easy position to fill.
Turris To Have Disciplinary Hearing Today
According to NHL.com, the Department of Player Safety will hold a disciplinary hearing Sunday with Ottawa Senators forward Kyle Turris to discuss a boarding penalty called after Turris' hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Joe Corvo during the third period of the Senators-Bruins game, Saturday in Ottawa.
Bizarre. After watching Wojtek Wolski land a blow to Alfredsson's head and with Jesse Winchester is still suffering the ill effects of a concussion after being hit from behind by Buffalo's Paul Gaustad, I was led to believe that the Department of Player Safety ignored the events that occur in Senators games.