The Ottawa Senators moved quickly to add insurance with their top goalie out of the lineup.
The team acquired 6-foot-7 Ben Bishop from the St. Louis Blues on Sunday for a second-round draft pick in 2013. Down in the minors, Bishop has been among the best goalies in the American Hockey League this season.
He joins the Senators less than a week after Craig Anderson had surgery for a severed tendon in his right hand. He cut his small finger while preparing food.
”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. ”Ben is a five-year pro and has had a real growth in his game the last couple of years. (Senators goaltending coach) 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, now the tallest goalie in the NHL, 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.
Alex Auld is Anderson’s regular backup. Neither Murray nor Senators coach Paul MacLean would divulge when Bishop would see his first action with the team.
”I’ll talk to the coaches obviously after the game (Sunday) and see where we put him,” Murray said. ”Do we play him a couple games in Binghamton or do we give him a game here? That’s under review for discussion at this point.”
The 25-year-old Bishop posted impressive numbers with the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen this season, going 24-14-0 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. He also had a league-leading six shutouts.
Bishop has made 13 NHL appearances for the Blues but found himself behind Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott in the rotation this season.
”Ottawa’s a great hockey city and it’s a great, fresh start for me,” Bishop said. ”I’m really excited. Words cannot describe how excited I am right now.”