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The Los Angeles Kings have acquired goaltender Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.
The Lightning picked up Los Angeles goaltender Peter Budaj, 19-year-old defensive prospect Erik Cernak, a seventh-round pick in the 2017 draft and a conditional pick for 2017 that could turn into a second-rounder depending on how far LA goes in the playoffs. The Kings also received a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
The 30-year-old Bishop played 32 games for the Lightning this season and held a 2.55 goal-against average and .911 save percentage. Bishop was a pending unrestricted free agent, which made him expendable asset for the team. Tampa also has young, talented Andrei Vasilevskiy on its roster, though Vasilevskiy has underperformed to a degree this season. Bishop’s contract carries a $5.95 million salary cap hit and according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Tampa will retain 20 percent of the salary.
The deal could mean the Lightning see themselves more as sellers as they head closer to Wednesday’s trade deadline. Tampa currently sits seven points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 22 games to go. Forward Brian Boyle is another veteran pending unrestricted free agent who could yield some return from a contending team.
The Kings had played almost the entire season without the luxury of starting goaltender Jonathan Quick, who returned Saturday to stop 32 of 33 shots on goal in LA’s win over the Anaheim Ducks. Quick injured his groin in the first game of the season, and then had a non-surgical procedure afterwards.
Quick appeared fully recovered in the game against the Ducks, but it seemed the Kings believed they needed some insurance in case he suffered any further issues down the stretch. The 34-year-old Budaj, who started the year third on the team’s depth chart, played well for Los Angeles with a 2.12 goal-against average and .917 save percentage to go along with seven shutouts in 53 games.
Los Angeles has 64 points in 61 games – three back of the St. Louis Blues for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
On the Milbury scale we give this move …
ONE MILBURY: The Lightning got something for Bishop instead of losing him for nothing in the offseason, while the Kings added an elite goaltender for the rest of the season and didn’t give up a big prospect or a first-round draft pick.
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