Chaminade’s Bishop traded by Blues to Ottawa
By: Warren Mayes
Chaminade graduate Ben Bishop now will stand tall between the pipes for the Ottawa Senators.
The Ottawa Senators acquired the 6-foot-7 Bishop from the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, a day before the trade deadline in the NHL. Bishop agreed to a one-year, one-way contract extension with Ottawa. That means he will be up with the club and won’t be sent down to the minors.
The Senators needed someone to step in for top goaltender Craig Anderson, who is out of action after slicing his hand in a kitchen mishap.
Bishop, who will be the tallest goalie ever in the NHL, said he is happy to be in the NHL.
“Ottawa’s a great hockey city and it’s a great, fresh start for me,” Bishop said to NHL.com. “I’m really excited. Words cannot describe how excited I am right now.”
Bishop, who was born in Denver but grew up in St. Louis, lost a training camp battle to former Senators netminder Brian Elliott for the backup job with the Blues. Elliot has played so well behind No. 1 goalie Jaroslav Halak that the Blues signed him to a two-year contract extenion recently. That enabled St. Louis to shop Bishop to the highest bidder.
The Senators, with 72 points and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, wanted someone to help out in Anderson’s absence. Ottawa’s other goalies are backup Alex Auld and minor leaguer Robin Lehner.
The 25-year-old Bishop was one of the American Hockey League’s best this season. His record was 24-12-0 with a .928 save-percentage. That was not enough for St. Louis. Bishop fell down the depth chart with the Blues this season with the emergence of Elliott, who took part in the All-Star Game in Ottawa in January.
“I would like to thank Ben for his time in our organization,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement. “He was a professional on and off the ice for us and we wish him nothing but the best in Ottawa.”
Bishop was the 85th overall pick in the 2005 entry draft. The 25-year-old has appeared in 13 NHL games, registering a 4-5-1 record, one shutout, a .896 save percentage and a 2.83 goals against average.
Four weeks ago, Bishop was named the most valuable player of the AHL All-Star Classic in Atlantic City, N.J., stopping 10 of 11 shots he faced in the third period in leading the Western Conference to an 8-7 shootout triumph. Bishop was also the top goaltender in the all-star skills competition.
“I’ve kind of had in my head the last month that it was going to happen,” Bishop told NHL.com. “I’m excited now that it’s over and I can go back to focusing just on playing hockey. I’ve heard a bunch of good things about (Ottawa) and they’ve got a great young team coming up. So I’m excited to be part of the organization.”
Bishop thanked the Blues and added that while playing for the hometown team was a dream, getting NHL experience with “more important” and exciting.
“We had talked about a depth goaltender or a goaltender since we didn’t have enough depth at that position,” Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray said in a statement. “Ben is a five-year pro and has had a real growth in his game the last couple of years. (Senators goaltending coach and former Blues goalie) Rick Wamsley had worked with him for two years and knows him quite well as a person.
“We think this man is ready to play in the NHL at some point here. Whether he plays right away or not, we’ll determine that as we go forward.”
Bishop was to have become a free agent this summer but agreed to a one-year contract extension as part of the trade. That ensures the Senators will have time to evaluate him.
The Blues will receive a second-round pick in 2013 for Bishop.
Bishop wanted to be with St. Louis in goal this it was not meant to be.
“I was hoping to be in St. Louis at the start of the year, but that didn’t work out,” said Bishop, who previously worked with Wamsley when both were in Peoria. “So I just wanted to come down here and show 29 other teams that I’m ready to play in the NHL. It’s been a good year down here. We have a pretty good team down here and I’ve just been working hard.”
He said he’s enthused about getting the chance to work with Wamsley again.
“That’ll be exciting to get back with him, working with a coach that you’ve worked with before,” Bishop told NHL.com. “He’s obviously helped me get to where I am today. He’s helped me big time when it comes to being a pro. It’ll be a lot of fun to work with him again and I’m excited to see him.”