NHL Rumors: Trade Buzz Around Ben Bishop, Free-Agency Rumblings and More

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2016

Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop could be on the move.
Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop could be on the move.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Goaltender Ben Bishop has been as vital for the Tampa Bay Lightning as any other player on their roster over the last two seasons. He helped lead the Lightning to a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2015, and he was having another solid postseason run this season until strained ankle ligaments sidelined him in the Eastern Conference Final.

However, despite Bishop's success, there is a good chance general manager Steve Yzerman could trade him in the offseason. Not only do the Lightning have a strong backup goalie in Andrei Vasilevskiy, but the upcoming expansion draft in 2017 will also allow NHL teams to protect only one goalie.

Bishop is under contract for $5.95 million in 2016-17, according to General Fanager, but he is scheduled to be a free agent after the upcoming season. Vasilevskiy will earn $925,000 in the upcoming season, and he is under contract for the following three seasons at $3.5 million per year. 

That's a reasonable salary for a No. 1 goalie, and that's one of the primary reasons Yzerman could move Bishop.

The Dallas Stars are interested in Bishop, according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. The Stars are coming off an excellent regular season in which they earned the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, but they had significant issues in goal as Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi struggled.

ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun added that he believed the Lightning will trade Bishop in the offseason or near the trade deadline (h/t Mark Easson of MyNHLTradeRumors.com).

The Penguins may be interested in retaining Matt Cullen.
The Penguins may be interested in retaining Matt Cullen.Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Veteran center Matt Cullen scored 16 goals and had 16 assists for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the regular season and added another four goals and two assists during the postseason.

The 39-year-old free agent has not signed with a new team yet, and while it looked as though Cullen might favor going to his home state to play for the Minnesota Wild, the Penguins are still interested in his services.

DKPittsburghSports.com's Josh Yohe tweeted that the Penguins would like to have him on the team, but they also know Minnesota is interested. The Penguins are unsure whether any other teams are interested as well.

Cullen earned $800,000 last year, and the Penguins may not want to go much further above that salary.

Kris Russell is a solid puck-moving defenseman.
Kris Russell is a solid puck-moving defenseman.Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran defenseman Kris Russell remains available as the NHL reaches the third day of free agency, and two Original Six rivals are among the teams interested in his services.

The Montreal Canadiens have interest in the strong-skating, puck-moving defenseman, according to Sportsnet's Eric Engels, and ESPN New Hampshire's Shawn Hutcheon noted the Boston Bruins may have interest in Russell as well.

The Bruins struggled on defense last season and bought out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg's contract in June. If they bring in a defenseman who can carry the puck out of his own zone and push the pace, it could be a key move for general manager Don Sweeney.

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