In what is shaping up to be an eventful NHL trade season, the latest news from the league is that longtime Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop is headed to Los Angeles. In what has played out to be a goalie switch, the Lightning traded Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for goaltender Peter Budaj. Although both teams traded draft picks as well as the Kings trading defender Erik Cernak, the real story is the goalie switch.
This trade in particular shocked me immensely. Although Bishop’s name has been tossed around in the trade rumor mill for weeks, the fact that he went to the Kings of all teams is the interesting part. Bishop is a starting goalie in Tampa, often sharing the goaltender duties with Andrei Vasilevskiy, but when it comes down to it Bishop has always been the guy. Like mentioned, it wasn’t a surprise that Bishop was dealt but what is surprising is that he was dealt to a team who has a starting goalie. Of course the Kings have been dealing with injuries in the position as Jonathan Quick has battled his way back into the lineup. But like stated, Quick is back in the lineup. In reality, Bishop was just dealt away from a team where he was the star just to be a backup for a team that is currently outside of the playoff picture.
Yes, the Lightning are outside of the picture as well, but at least he would be a starter, getting playing time to improve. The situation of two starting goaltenders is one that the Pittsburgh Penguins are facing right now, they favor the goalie who is the hottest, so for the backup they are just sitting on the bench watching. Is it really a smart move to have two of the games elite goalies sharing the bench duties. It is smart on the Kings part to have a successful backup in case Quick doesn’t get back into his winning rhythm or if he gets injured again, but what if he doesn’t? You have two goalies that are taking up a significant portion of your cap space sharing the net, it doesn’t seem like the most ideal situation. Time will tell how the Kings will balance the goaltender situation in the weeks approaching the playoffs.
Notably the other big trade thus far is the deal between the Arizona Coyotes and the Minnesota Wild. The trade sent Coyotes’ longtime team staples Martin Hanzal and Ryan White to the Wild in exhange for Grayson Downing and draft picks. With the Coyotes out of the playoff picture, this seems like an okay trade, they are obviously trying to shake up the lineup now in order to find the right pieces to put them in a better position for next season, where the Wild who are leading the central division currently made out like bandits on this trade, they added two solid veterans into their lineup in order to get further in to playoffs.
There has been a couple smaller trades that aren’t as impactful but there is still some time for teams to make waves in the hockey world with trades.