With the Carolina Hurricanes trading for the rights to negotiate with pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Scott Darling and then signing him to a contract extension, one of the better goaltending upgrades for the Dallas Stars came off the market.
Now, Dallas has decided to take action on arguably the most proven goaltender that will hit the open market. They’ve traded a fourth round pick that was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens in the Jordie Benn trade and flipped that to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for the negotiating rights to Ben Bishop.
The trade in no way assures the two sides will come to agreement on a new contract. However, recent history in the league says that teams generally don’t make this kind of move unless they’re confident that there is mutual interest.
It’s kind of exciting to see Dallas potentially upgrading the one position that everyone has wanted upgraded for the last two plus years.
What does the move mean?
In the grand scheme of things, it sends a clear message to the fans that the Stars front office is looking at significant roster upgrades to get the team back into contention. It also sends the same message to the players already signed by Dallas for next season, including Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, the young core guys that the Stars want to win with now.
On the business side of things, if they can come to terms with Bishop, then that means at least one of Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi will be filing change of address forms in the coming months, as they won’t be returning to the Dallas line-up. With the expansion draft upcoming, it’s possible that the clarity on those contracts may take a little bit of time to come to light.
Bishop, 30, posted a .910 save percentage and a 2.54 goals against average last season in which he split time between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Kings.