The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed goaltender Ben Bishop to a two-year contract extension. Bishop was eligible for UFA status next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop’s new deal is reportedly worth $11.9 million, at an annual cap hit of $5.95 million. That’s a substantial raise for Bishop, who’ll earn $2.3 million this season. It’s well worth it, considering he was a finalist for the 2014 Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender. He was arguably the main reason the Lightning made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2010-11.
It’s an affordable move by the Lightning, though a bit surprising they once again opted for a two-year deal. Bishop’s acceptance of it also comes as a surprise. Usually in these cases it’s the team or player seeking a long-term extension. Bishop will be 30 when his new deal expires.
It appears the Lightning want to ensure his Vezina-nominated performance of the past season wasn’t a one-off before investing long term in his services. Should Bishop continue to rank among the league’s elite goalies, it puts him in good position to secure a more lucrative contract from the Lightning, or from another club via the free-agent market. For now, this deal keeps Bishop in the fold beyond this season, ensuring his contract status doesn’t become an unnecessary distraction for the Lightning.