TAMPA BAY: The Lightning traded upcoming unrestricted free agent goalie Ben Bishop tonight. Many people in the media or the fan base knew this day would eventually come following Andrei Vasilevskiy signing a three-year extension in the off-season. After much speculation as to if or when Bishop would be traded, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman sent the winningest goalie in franchise history to the Los Angeles Kings with a 2017 fifth round pick, in exchange for goalie Peter Budaj and defensive prospect Erik Cernak, as well as a 7th round pick in 2017 and conditional 2017 pick. Tampa Bay will apparently retain 20% of Bishop’s remaining salary for the season.
#Bolts get solid D prospect in Cernak, who was Kings 2nd rd (43rd overall) pick in 2015, and veteran goaltender in Budaj to back up Vasy.
— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) February 26, 2017
Budaj (34 years old) played in 53 games for the Kings this season posting a 27-20-3 record with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage with seven shutouts. One would have to imagine that the team is now Andrei Vasilevskiy’s with Budaj backing him up. The former Kings goalie could also be exposed in the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft.
Erik Cernak (19 years old) was drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft. Cernak has skated in 41 games this season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters. This season he has registered three goals and 17 points, along with a plus-27 rating.
Everyone knew if Bishop made it through the season it was going to be nearly impossible to re-sign him, as he was expected a pay increase as a free agent.
With the NHL trade deadline nearing, one has to wonder what other moves Steve Yzerman may be cooking up. The Lightning currently sit seven points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card spot, and eight points behind the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division.
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