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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Brought in on a six-year deal last offseason to stabilize a goaltending situation that had been trouble for Dallas since Kari Lehtonen's heyday, Bishop was as good as advertised until a knee injury suffered in March effectively ended his campaign early. The 31-year-old was on pace for his fourth career 30-win season prior to getting hurt, and while his GAA and save percentage weren't quite as sharp as they were with the Lightning, that was largely due to the less than stellar Stars blue line corps. When he's locked in, Bishop's towering 6-foot-7 frame makes him one of the most intimidating goalies in the NHL, and there's been no indication over the summer that his knee will be an issue heading into training camp. If he can avoid further injuries and get better defensive play in front of him, Bishop is in position to put together a very impressive season.
After three straight seasons in Tampa where Bishop patrolled the crease for more than 60 games, injuries kept the lanky goalie off the ice for significant stretches in 2016-17, and his GAA and save percentage reflected the fact he was often playing at less than 100 percent. Traded to the Kings in late February, he backed up Jonathan Quick down the stretch before his rights were flipped to the Stars in May and he inked a six-year deal with his new club. Now 30 years old, if he can stay healthy he should stabilize what has been a shaky goaltending situation in Dallas over the last few years, but he may need to shoulder another big workload with only the aging Kari Lehtonen to spell him.
The Bolts are blessed with two No. 1 goalies in Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Bishop is an elite netminder who has been a Vezina finalist in two of his last three seasons. But he's older (29) and much more expensive ($5.95 million) than his Russian teammate ($925,000). He's an unrestricted free agent after this season and his contract demands next summer will be significant. Bishop will not re-sign in Tampa Bay – Vasilevskiy's emergence guarantees it and so does his big ticket. And that makes a trade before the start of the season a distinct possibility. Still, Bishop will be elite no matter where he plays and he should be one of the first goalies off any fantasy draft board. Bishop has delivered 37, 41 and 35 wins in the last three seasons. And he should come close to the 2.06 GAA and .926 save percentage he delivered in 2015-16 on any contending team.
In two short seasons, Bishop has become one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. He came within two wins of bringing Lord Stanley to Tampa Bay and did it while playing on a torn groin. Big Ben has 77 wins in the last two years, including 40 last season, and delivers great ratios for his owners. He’ll likely be among the first five twinetenders to go off the board on draft day, so if you want him, jump on him early. The only caveat? Bishop is in the first year of a two-year, $11.9 million contract and will most certainly be due a big raise. It remains to be seen if the Bolts will ink him to that massive deal or deal him away and roll with stud backup Andrei Vasilevskiy. In the short term, that situation shouldn’t affect your thinking of Bishop. But long term, his value may change if he’s moved to a team with less depth and structure in place.
Bishop blew the doors off Tampa Bay last season and ended up getting a Vezina nomination for his efforts. The question will be whether he can replicate his performance. Bishop isn't just a one-hit wonder -- he has a better cumulative save percentage (.921) than Carey Price and Pekka Rinne since the 2010-11 season. Not only is he a stud, but he's also playing for a huge payday; he's on the last year of a $2.2 million deal and is due for a massive raise. He'll get it on the heels of another fantastic season. Take advantage if you have the opportunity.
Bishop didn't exactly knock the doors off the Bolts' dressing room after he arrived in Tampa Bay last year. He was fine, but not spectacular with some rather pedestrian numbers (3-4-0, .917 and 2.99). Still, he's quick and technically sound for a guy built like a giraffe (6-7, 215), and has the intangibles to be an NHL starter. But he and Anders Lindback will likely end up in a platoon this season, with the Bolts rolling whomever has the hottest hand. Utlimately, Bishop may emerge as the clear-cut starter, but that won't happen this season. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
Acquired for a 2013 second-round draft pick in late February, Bishop was immediately thrown into the lineup to play for the injured Craig Anderson, who suffered a freak injury to his hand while cutting chicken after a game against Washington on February 22nd. The 25-year old Bishop spent several years in the Blues organization developing his technique and he played quite well for the Sens after being dealt to the team, going 3-3-2 with a .909 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against average. He has the inside track on serving as Anderson’s backup this season and if he does beat out goaltending prospect Robin Lehner, Bishop should get a solid 15-20 games in. Remember his name in keeper leagues, as the towering netminder has a bright future.
It’s been three long years between the pipes for the AHL Peoria Rivermen, but Bishop will get an opportunity to be a full-time No. 2 goaltender in the NHL. The Blues are going to give him a chance to compete in training camp to be Jaroslav Halak’s backup. The big question is if Bishop is ready for the NHL. He got a brief look-see with the Blues when Halak’s hand injury forced him to sidelines in February. And while Bishop’s overall numbers were not great, a lot of the damage occurred in two bad periods and the team in front of him wasn’t playing very well at the time. As a backup, the Blues would only be looking for him to play 20-25 games.
Bishop emerged as the No. 1 goalie for Peoria of the AHL, and improved his play, despite backstopping a porous defense. With the top two goalies established in St. Louis, Bishop will return to Peoria to form a tandem with the rising Jake Allen (juniors last year). The organization likes both goalies and will give each an opportunity in the AHL, to see who gets a leg up in the competition to back up Jaroslav Halak in 2011. Ty Conklin will serve in that capacity this season.
Bishop is slated for another season in Peoria of the AHL. He'll get regular starts and coaching from the recently hired Ed Belfour. There's not much in his way on the NHL roster, as Chris Mason is in the final year of his contract, and Ty Conklin is viewed as a backup.
Bishop is likely to get the bulk of playing time for the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL this season as the Blues determine if and when he is able to step up to the NHL. A solid season this year may get him there next season. Even if injuries hit Manny Legace or Chris Mason, it's unlikely Bishop would get much playing time this year but the Blues would love to see the hometown product between the pipes soon.
Bishop recently underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. That alone makes him a longshot to crack the Blues' roster this year. Look for Bishop to spend another season at the college level.