Bishop a big deal for Senators

Ben Bishop makes a save against the Oilers at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Feb. 25, 2011. (DAN...

Ben Bishop makes a save against the Oilers at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Feb. 25, 2011. (DAN RIEDLHUBER/Reuters)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:35 AM ET

OTTAWA - Ben Bishop couldn’t hide his excitement.

For six years, the 6-foot-7 goaltending prospect has ridden the buses in the American Hockey League.

Without complaining, he waited and waited. Just looking for a chance, an opportunity in the NHL.

So when the 25-year-old got word in Peoria Sunday morning he’d been dealt to the Senators by the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2013 draft, the Colorado native was thrilled.

“I’m very excited. I couldn’t be more happy, especially to go to a team like Ottawa, with a great history and the fan support they have there.” Bishop told the Sun.

“I’m looking forward to getting up there and start working.

“There’ve been talks for the last couple of days. I knew this was a possibility. I’m excited that this is over with and I can get back to worrying about playing goalie. This is going to be a really good opportunity for me.”

Not only is Bishop going to get the chance to be a full-time backup behind Craig Anderson, he’s going to be reunited with Senators goalie coach Rick Wamsley. The two worked together for three years with the Blues.

It’s funny the way life works. Bishop made his NHL debut on Oct. 24, 2008, when St. Louis starter Manny Legace tripped on a red carpet set out for Sarah Palin to drop the puck before a Kings-Blues game.

Now, an accident in the kitchen that has Anderson out indefinitely with a hand injury is going to give Bishop a chance to get some NHL starts.

Bishop battled for the No. 2 role behind Jaroslav Halak during camp with the Blues. Former Senators goalie Brian Elliott won the backup job and is having a spectacular season.

St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong wanted to get something for the goalie, who is a potential UFA at the end of this season. The Senators already have Bishop signed to a one-year, $650,000 one-way extension.

“I’ve been waiting for this chance all year,” said Bishop. “I would have liked the job in St. Louis at the start of the year, but St. Louis went with the veteran guy. You can’t fault them. Elliott is having an unbelievable season.

“I just wanted to go down to Peoria and show the 29 other teams that I was ready to play in the NHL. I think I was able to do that. I’ve gotten good experience here and it’s always nice when somebody wants you. I’m just looking forward to getting up there and working hard with that team.”

A league executive said Bishop is a good option and moves well.

“He’s a heck of goalie. This is going to be a good move for the Senators,” said the executive. “He had a really good battle with Brian Elliott in training camp. Obviously, he’s big in the net and he’s got a lot of experience.

“He was just in an organization where they have some depth in goal. He’s been terrific this year. I’m pretty sure the Senators weren’t the only team in the mix for this guy. There would have been a lot of interest.”

Knowing Wamsley is going to help.

“I worked with him quite a bit for three years,” said Bishop. “He started me on the path I needed to get on and I really respect him. He’s been great for my career. He taught me a lot. I’m looking forward to getting back workinng with him.”

Bishop won’t have to wait long. He’ll join the team in time to play in Boston Tuesday night vs. the Bruins.

RATING THE TRADE

WHAT: The Senators dealt a second-round pick in 2013 to the St. Louis Blues Sunday in exchange for G Ben Bishop.

AN NHL EXEC SAYS: “Good deal for the Senators. I thought they might have to give up more. I’m sure his status as a UFA meant the Blues weren’t getting offered a lot in return. If they sign him, it will be an excellent trade. Not sure where this places Robin Lehner in the organization.”

QUESTION: What does this mean for Alex Auld? Future is limited.

RATING: Thumbs Up.


Videos

Photos