Bishop did not play all of last season as he recovered from surgery following the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, in which he only played one game. The goaltender’s health and availability has been a long time question mark for the Stars, with many fans wondering if he will still be unavailable in time for the 2021-22 season.
Due to said injury concerns, it is somewhat unlikely (though not impossible) that Bishop is selected by the Seattle Kraken during the Expansion Draft. Instead, Bishop’s waiving (which applies only to the Expansion Draft, not a trade) appears to be focused on letting the club protect Anton Khudobin:
“I thought that was a good move for him and the team,” Bishop’s agent Allain Roy told The News.
“In the big picture, the goal is to win the Stanley Cup, so I think he felt that was the right move for the team to be the best team possible next year. Makes sense.”
Had Bishop not waived his NMC, the Stars would have been forced to protect him and expose Khudobin. That could have led to a scenario where Khudobin was selected by the Kraken but Bishop was unavailable during the 2021-22 season, forcing Dallas to rely solely on Jake Oettinger — who is exempt from the Expansion Draft — in net with an AHL-caliber backup.
Instead, this move will guarantee that Dallas has both Khudobin and Oettinger available. If healthy, Bishop would presumably take Oettinger’s place in the tandem, although likely in a more limited role focused on preserving his health. Oettinger would then be sent down to the AHL and serve as the first callup option in case of injury.
Bishop has two more years remaining on his six-year, $4.916M AVV contract that he signed with Dallas in 2017.