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Dallas Stars

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jedi17
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Dallas Stars

Post by jedi17 on Fri 19 May 2017, 8:08 pm

Stars Sign Bishop to Six-Year Contract
May 12, 2017, 2:53 PM ET [34 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Dallas Stars Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT
The Dallas Stars announced on Friday the signing of recently acquired goaltender Ben Bishop to a long-term contract. According to Pierre LeBrun, it is a six-year, $29.5 million ($4.92 million cap hit) contract. The goaltender will have a full no-movement clause in his contract throughout the length of the deal and will additionally have a modified no-trade clause in the latter three years of the deal.

In other words, even if Bishop were to waive his no-movement clause in the latter years of the deal, he would still have the protection of (depending on how his modified NTC is structured) either being able to chose a list of teams to whom he's willing to accept a trade or furnish a list of teams to whom he'd NOT accept a trade.

The trade off here is that Bishop probably sacrificed some salary while the Stars sacrificed where they'd ideally like to gave gone with term for a 30-year-old goalie who was a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2015-16 but is coming off a bit of a down season this year.

Bishop's career history and more advanced advanced statistical breakdowns (as detailed in Todd Cordell's Calgary Flames blog) suggest that while he clearly has blossomed into a fine NHL goaltender, he is not a miracle worker.

Statistically, Bishop let in few outright soft goals even this past season. However, like most NHL goaltenders, he relies on the team in front of him limiting the medium-danger range and high-danger range shots. In fact, Bishop's save percentage this past season on the medium to high danger opportunities was lower than Kari Lehtonen's in Dallas despite having a generally more consistent brand of team defense played in front of him.

However, Dallas GM Jim Nill's plan was not to simply bring in a bigger-name goaltender than veterans Lehtonen and Antti Niemi. The hiring of Ken Hitchcock as head coach was geared toward overhauling the team-defense issues that have plagued the Stars for the last three seasons.

Instilling defensive structure is Hitchcock's bread and butter. He is going to demand that players such as Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg and Jason Spezza make changes to their games to fit in with his system, because the system will not change to accommodate them. Klingberg and Seguin both are going to have a gauntlet thrown down to them and be in Hitch's office a lot. Spezza's handling under Hitchcock very well could parallel the way Hitchcock handled Jeremy Roenick in Philadelphia -- although the player's personality is a bit different -- which Hitchcock telling him he's not a top-caliber NHL offensive force anymore, so he has to embrace a different way of thinking.

Additional reshaping of the Dallas blue line, the emergence of some of the younger D-men the Stars have been grooming through (not expected) growing pains, and Hitchcock getting buy-in for a more consistently disciplined style of play than the team has played the last few years are the biggest keys to putting Bishop in position to succeed. He showed in Tampa Bay that he can thrive when those elements are around him.

In the meantime, the Stars still have Lehtonen ($5.9 million) and Antti Niemi ($4.5 million) under contract for one more season. Neither will be protected in the upcoming expansion draft but it is also unlikely that Vegas selects either goalie. While it's conceivable that another NHL team could have interest in one for a backup role or as part of a short-term 1A/1B tandem, the 33-year-old Lehtonen's salary makes him tough to trade without eating a significant portion of the cap hit, and the 33-year-old Niemi likewise makes too much money. Also, both players have limited no-trade clauses.

The Stars would no doubt prefer to avoid a buy-out scenario with Lehtonen or Niemi, as they would have to carry a not-insignificant penalty on the salary cap in 2018-19, but they also clearly won't carry three goalies on the roster next season. It will be very interesting to see how the Stars resolve the situation that currently exists.

    Current date/time is Sat 18 Nov 2017, 3:25 pm