Every St. Louis Blues fan knew that this deal was coming. The Blues had Jaroslav Halak locked up for a few years, and with the stellar play of Brian Elliot and his brand new, two-year contract extension, there was no place in St. Louis for Ben Bishop. The deal was inevitable.
Ben Bishop grew up in St. Louis. He played for the Chaminade Red Devils, a local high school, so playing for the Blues would have been a dream that not many players can achieve. But, Ottawa is still a great destination for the NHL-ready goaltender.
Ottawa was having their fair share of goaltending problems. They chose to let Elliot go in this past offseason, and now he is having a career year with the Blues. Craig Anderson has not been the goalie that he can be. And now, he could be out long term after cutting himself with a knife and tearing a tendon in his hand.
Ottawa is currently sitting in 7th place in the Eastern Conference, and relying on a back-up goaltender is not the way to make it into April. Ottawa needed an NHL-ready goaltender, and Ben Bishop was the answer.
Bishop has played in only 13 games, but has been the back-up for many more. He was the back-up during the Blues' 2008 playoff run, and knows what it takes to be the starting goaltender. He is arguably the best goaltender in the AHL, being the first star in the AHL All-Star game this season. Bishop would have been the back-up to Jaroslav Halak had Brian Elliot not been playing out of his mind this season.
For the Blues, this trade is a bittersweet trade. The Blues loved having the homegrown talent in Bishop. He worked as hard as anyone else on the team, and was putting everything on the line.
However, the Blues knew they couldn't hold on to Bishop and had to trade him, for fear of losing him in the offseason for nothing. By sending him to Ottawa, Bishop is all but guaranteed to be playing in Ottawa, if not starting.
The Blues, in return for Bishop, get a second round pick. St. Louis always has drafted well, with players like David Perron, TJ Oshie, and David Backes, all who are now the core of the St. Louis Blues, being picked from the amateur leagues. This pick should be like every other one, a great player that will eventually be part of the winning organization.
Ben Bishop was all but out of St. Louis. There was nowhere for him to go at the NHL level, even though he was playing like he should be there. Ottawa was in desperate need of an NHL-ready goaltender, and Bishop was the answer. It's a win for everyone involved.