Ben Bishop has finally been rewarded for all of last season’s hard work, signing a two-year contract extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning late Saturday afternoon.
The big 6-foot-7 netminder, acquired from the Ottawa Senators at the 2013 Trade Deadline in exchange for forward Cory Conacher, broke onto the scene last season. Bishop’s 37 wins ranked fourth in the NHL, while the five shutouts he had placed fifth. That helped him get voted as one of just three 2013-14′ Vezina Trophy finalists.
With the Lightning, Bishop set single season records for wins, save percentage (.924) and goals-against average (2.23). He set the franchise record for most saves in a game as well, recording 48 on January 19 against the Carolina Hurricanes. Outstanding numbers that not only cemented his status as an elite goaltender, but also gave them the security they’d craved during much of the past 10 years.
He was a rock last season, keeping the Lightning in playoff contention despite Steven Stamkos’ broken leg, the Martin St. Louis trade saga and numerous other challenges. This included a wrist injury of his own, suffered in early January but not causing him to miss time. Unfortunately, an elbow injury sustained during the regular seasons final week cost Bishop the opportunity to play in the postseason. As a result, their amazing season ended in a four game sweep.
Now that Bishop’s signed past 2015, all eyes will be watching to see whether he can build upon last seasons success. If he’s able to, the Lightning’s rise toward Eastern Conference supremacy and another potential Stanley Cup may be quicker than anyone imagined not so long ago.