The Kings have a glaring issue, as usual, going into the trade deadline. Goals. They aren’t happening, and it’s the same story in a different year for Los Angeles. 2013 and 2015 they had less of an issue on that end, but those were also years where they got a full season out of the pickups from the deadline prior (Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik) who were acquired for that exact reason.
So the Kings added Ben Bishop, a goalie.
Ben Bishop is a really good goalie. He’s also a very expensive goalie, even with the Lightning retaining some salary. Peter Budaj was a great story. But that was about it. He was a mediocre goalie on a team where they have turned those into amazing looking goalies. Jonathan Bernier looked like a franchise goalie and Ben Scrivens looked competent, and neither of those things seemed true on their other non-Kings teams. So Peter Budaj being halfway decent for Los Angeles wasn’t surprising. But he let in some awful goals more frequently than one would like.
Bishop is a massive upgrade over Budaj. You do this trade every time if it’s an isolated scenario. But again, and this is the important part, he’s expensive. He’s not going to be on the Los Angeles Kings next season either, which is fine really.
Cap space for the Kings is the primary concern coming out of this deal though. It makes goals against a real non-issue, though it wasn’t a concern even with Budaj in net. As of now, the Kings have less than $740,000 in wiggle room. If they want to go for a winger to boost their much more glaring issue at scoring goals, it’s going to have to be for a winger earning around as much money as Nick Shore or Andy Andreoff, or they will need to unload someone.
Based off of Dean Lombardi’s comments regarding Bishop, and the fact he and Jonathan Quick appear to be the tandem down the stretch, Bishop won’t be the one getting flipped. I’d highly doubt Jake Muzzin or Alec Martinez get sent out either, even with down years (plus Martinez being the only viable and trusted option as a right side second pairing guy makes trading him seem self defeating). No team will bite on Marian Gaborik likely, another self defeating move. All of this really confuses me considering there were rumors floating around regarding Patrick Sharp, who makes close to six million bucks.
Yes, a Quick/Bishop duo is light years ahead of Budaj and Jeff Zatkoff, so it’s a interesting gamble to say the least. Sharp, Andrew Ladd, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan, etc aren’t going to solve the Kings scoring issues either. But for a team that still needs to do something about getting the puck into the other team’s net, they’re going to find it even more difficult to add even a sub par forward now.
Prediction: The Kings need shutouts or only one goal against, at most. They give up two, and chase the remainder of the game, and lose 3-1.