The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded goalie Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for goalie Peter Budaj, defenceman Erik Cernak, a seventh round pick for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional pick.
The trade sends a interesting message as to the Kings’ intentions in goal, what with Jonathan Quick just returning to action on Saturday in a win against the Ducks.
Bishop is in the final year of a two-year contract that pays out an average annual value of $5.95 million.
The two-time Vezina finalist was between the pipes when the Lightning made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 and he holds several franchise records, including wins (131), shutouts (17), save percentage (.921), and goals against average (2.28).
This season, the 30-year-old from Denver put up a 16-12-3 record in 32 games. He posted a 2.55 goals against average and a .911 record, while the Lightning sit at 27-25-8 ahead of Monday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. That puts them sixth in the tough Atlantic Division, seven points behind the Maple Leafs for the coveted final wild card spot.
Bishop’s shift to the West Coast and the Kings will impact his playing time, especially with Quick back in the fold. Time will tell how the new guy fits in the mix.
Budaj had been handling the lion’s share of goaltending duties in Los Angeles, by the way, and his “thank you” is a ticket out of town.
The 34-year-old Slovakian netminder has gone 27-20-3 across 51 starts, with a 2.12 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.
If you think that’s a hefty workload for Budaj, you’d be right.
But it’s not unprecedented, as he started 55 games for Colorado back in 2008-2009. Budaj is used to shouldering the load and the blame, so he’s a good sell as the type of guy who’ll get things done without complaint. The Lightning should find a use for him with Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Tampa also receives Cernak, a 19-year-old currently playing in the OHL. He has 17 points in 40 games with Eerie.