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Ben Bishop Isn’t Right for the Calgary Flames

In the present maybe, in the future no.



When the Calgary Flames visited the Tampa Bay Lightning last night, it gave everyone a chance to rekindle a possibility that had almost happened last summer.

Namely that the Flames are looking to acquire Ben Bishop.

While I know Bishop is one of the better goaltenders in the NHL, there just doesn’t seem to be a reason for the Flames to make any move for him.

The biggest reason behind why some think the Flames should acquire Bishop is that he’d solidify the teams goaltending in the present, and while things have been shaky I don’t think it’s a wise idea.

While Bishop’s numbers have been better than either Elliott’s or Johnson’s, there has been a noticeable improvement in Elliott’s game as he has settled into the number one role that we had expected him to hold back in October.

Sure, maybe acquiring Bishop as a rental would improve the Flames, but with the Flames being a bubble team, his acquisition still wouldn’t make the Flames good enough to be a cup contender this season.

The Flames aren’t in a position as an organization to pay high prices for rental players quite yet, so acquiring him may just set the team back in the long run.

The bigger reason why I don’t think the Flames should acquire Bishop is that it would only make sense to acquire him if they were going to resign him. By doing so, the Flames would be putting all their eggs in one basket by committing to Bishop long term and for likely a lot of money.

From a cap perspective, this would further the Flames streak of being in cap hell, as Calgary already has seven players with contracts of 3+ years and salaries of $4.3M or higher. Add a $6-7M price tag to that for Bishop, and things could get tight as the Flames try to resign players such as Mikael Backlund or Matthew Tkachuk.

Next and even more importantly in my opinion, is that the Flames have a wealth of developing goalie prospects. Specifically Tyler Parsons while Jon Gillies, David Rittich, and Nick Schneider are also options.

While the development paths of goaltenders are always wonky, you have to think at some point that those goalies will get an NHL shot, and it needs to be with the Flames.

Parsons has been a winner at each level of his career thus far with a Memorial Cup win last year with the London Knights, which he followed up by backstopping Team USA to a world junior gold this past year. Parsons has also had an amazing year in London which has led to him being rated the 12th best player not in the NHL by Craig Button in his latest rankings. He’s also widely regarded as a future #1 goalie in the NHL which is exactly what the Flames need.

He also has improved his stats from last year by having a 17-4-3 record with London to go with a 2.25 GAA and .926 sv%. His GAA is 3rd best in the OHL for goalies with 20 games played or more while his save percentage is the best in the OHL.

While Gillies has had a down year in Stockton, he’s still a fairly high ranked prospect in the Flames organization and may be more ready to make an NHL jump soon even just as a backup.

When you look at these two goalies alone, it becomes clear that making a long-term deal for Ben Bishop just doesn’t make sense for the Flames who are in the tail end of a rebuild.

However, if they can find a starter that can take the reins for a couple years while the young goalies continue to develop, I wouldn’t be opposed, whether that be sticking with Elliott or looking elsewhere.

But it’s becoming more and more clear that Parsons will be the goalie of the future for the Calgary Flames and they can’t jeopardize that by signing/trading for Bishop.

by Michael MacGillivray