The Dallas Stars fortified a glaring weakness today as they begin their push to return to the playoffs next season.
The team announced today that it had inked goaltender Ben Bishop to a six-year contract extension worth $29.5 million US.
Bishop, 30, played for the Tampa Bay Lightning for four and a half years before being dealt to the Los Angeles Kings at this year's trade deadline. After just seven appearances for the Kings, Bishop's rights were flipped to the Stars earlier this week in exchange for a 2017 fourth-round entry draft selection.
"Ben is an elite goaltender in this league and we're thrilled to add him to our mix," said Stars General Manager Jim Nill. "We are excited to have him under contract for the next six seasons."
A three-time all star, Bishop led the NHL with a 2.06 goals against average last season. His career save percentage of .919, which spans 270 games including stints at the beginning of his career with the St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators, places him 10th all-time. Despite the Stars' struggles last season, Bishop is optimistic he can help lead a turnaround.
"I think [Dallas] has a lot of potential and that's one of the reasons I wanted to sign there," he said. "It's hard to find forwards that can score like the Stars can … it always makes it more comforting knowing the guys can go out there and score and you just have to do your job and stop the puck."
However, this season was a different story for Bishop. He posted the worst save percentage of his career since becoming a regular starting goalie and failed to make much impact in the Kings late-season playoff push.
The Stars hope Bishop can return to his elite form in his age 31-37 years. Dallas' strategy to split starts between Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen this season yielded the worst team save percentage in the NHL at .893, and only the lowly Colorado Avalanche allowed more goals against. The need for stronger goaltending to pair with offensive stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin was at the top of Dallas' offseason checklist.
"When Dallas traded for me, it was a good fit for both sides and we wanted to make it work and I think its a good deal for both sides. Hopefully with the deal we can go out and get some good players and keep winning," said Bishop.
The former third-round pick has also appeared in 36 playoff games, all for the Lightning. He led them to the Stanley Cup finals in the 2015-2016 season, posting a 2.09 GAA to go along with a .927 save percentage. His five playoff shutouts since 2014-2015 lead the NHL.
Bishop has finished top-three in Vezina Trophy voting twice in his career. The Denver, CO., native was originally drafted by the Blues 85th overall in the 2005 entry draft.