May. 15, 2017
Is Ben Bishop the answer for the Stars?
After acquiring Ben Bishop from the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, the Dallas Stars have inked the star goalie to a six-year $29.5 million dollar deal today. Without the deal, Bishop would have been a unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
After finishing first in the Central Division in the 2015-16 season, the Stars ended this past season with 30 less points than their Central Division championship season. The future looked bright for the Stars. They scored 3.23 goals per game (the best in the NHL), had the fourth best powerplay in the NHL and had the second most points in the NHL in the 2015-16 season.
However, in 2016-27 their goals per game dropped to 2.71, they gave up 3.17 goals per game, and their powerplay was in the bottom half of the league. Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi shared the goalie position for the Stars, but neither was able to get the job done. The Stars are thinking that a successful goaltender can stabilize the team and make the team successful again.
Bishop has a career .919 save percentage, allows 2.28 goals per game, and has 17 shutouts in the regular season. After becoming the Tampa Bay Lightning’s starting goaltender for the 2013-14 season, Bishop led the Lightning to the playoffs in three of the four seasons. In those three seasons, the Lightning lost in the Stanley Cup Finals and Eastern Conference Finals in consecutive years, had a 21-13 playoff record, a .927 save percentage, and allowed 2.09 goals per game.
The past four seasons, Bishop has been great as a starting goalie for the Lightning in the regular season and the playoffs when he has been healthy. He ended the 2013-14 season with a leg injury and missed time this past season with a lower body injury. He also was injured in the Eastern conference finals in the 2015-2016 season when the Lightning lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Andrei Vasilevsky broke out in that series and demonstrated that he was the goalie of the future.
If Bishop can stay healthy, he should bring stability in net for the Stars. He even has the chance to be one of the better goalies in the Western Conference next season. With stability in goal, the Stars can focus more on getting their offensive game on track and worry less about letting in too many goals.
Bishop alone probably will not solve all of the Stars problems. They also need to upgrade their defense the offseason. None of the defensemen had more than 130 blocked shots no forwards had more the 71 blocked shots this season. Defense is a team effort and the Stars need to address that.
This contract makes Bishop only the 10th highest paid goalie next season in the NHL. With his past playoff success and his ability to be a great number one goalie, the Stars made a great investment in Bishop.