According to TSN’sBob McKenzie, the Tampa Bay Lightning have traded prospect Cory Conacher to the Ottawa Senators for goaltender Ben Bishop. The Senators will receive a fourth-round pick along with Conacher in the deal with Tampa Bay.
Conacher is currently second among all NHL rookies with 24 points behind the Florida Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau. The 23-year-old was awarded the American Hockey League’s Les Cunningham Award as the league’s MVP last season while leading the Norfolk Admirals to the Calder Cup trophy.
Ben Bishop is the NHL’s tallest goaltender at 6-foot-7, just ahead of current Lightning netminder Anders Linback. Lindback stands at 6-foot-6, and was expected to be the future in net for the Lightning, though those plans may have changed as there’s now a taller goaltender in town with more potential.
Bishop has an 8-5-0 record this season with a very respectable 2.45 goals against average. The 26-year-old came to the Senators last season from the St. Louis Blues for a second-round pick.
Cory Conacher now becomes the Senators leading scorer, as Sergei Gonchar and Kyle Turris are two points behind with 22 apiece. Conacher is signed through next season, and is scheduled to make $925,000.
The Senators are currently tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for fifth in the Eastern Conference, and could use Conacher’s energy on the ice. Though Conacher stands at only 5-foot-8, the rookie is aggressive on the ice and compiled 114 penalty minutes in the AHL last season to go along with 80 points.
By sending Bishop to Tampa Bay, the Senators have assured Robin Lehner the backup spot behind Craig Anderson. Anderson is set to return to the Senators this week after a sprained right ankle slowed down the hottest goalie in the NHL.
According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, and Carolina Hurricanes were all reportedly interested in Bishop before a deal with the Lightning was made. Bishop will be an unrestricted free agent in the upcoming offseason, but should have a great shot at winning the starting job in Tampa Bay.
Conacher has been a fan favorite in Tampa Bay ever since his arrival after the lockout ended. The loss of their young forward to a trade deadline deal can only make matters worse for Lightning fans who have watched their team fall to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Will the Tampa Bay Lightning regret trading away one of the best rookies in the NHL?