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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Senators Trade Draft Pick To Blues For Bishop — Who Got The Best Deal?

On Sunday, the Senators traded a 2nd Round draft pick in 2013 in exchange for Blues minor-league goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop is a tall guy at 6' 7'' but is only 215 pounds.

He played seven games for the Blues in the 2010-2011 season and had three wins and four losses, and in those games his Save Percentage was .899, GAA 2.76, and he had one shutout. Two years prior he had six games with the Blues and did not do as well. Besides those two stints in the NHL, from 2007 and onward he was with the Blues AHL affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen. He posted good numbers for the Rivermen but he has yet to prove that he can be a regular NHL net-minder.

Why did Ottawa, Bryan Murray (VP and GM) and Cyril Leeder (President) want another goalie? Four days ago starter Craig Anderson lacerated a tendon in his pinky finger while in his kitchen. He has undergone surgery and if the Senators are wise they will not rush him into the line-up before he is 100 percent. Honestly, I don’t expect to see Anderson on the ice until next year, although it would depend on the extent of the injury. Bishop was obtained just in case Alex Auld (Senator’s normal back-up this year) or Robin Lehner (great prospect) get injured or are unable to play for some other reason. 

Auld is a 31 year old journeyman goaltender who has played for the Canucks, Panthers, Coyotes, Bruins, Senators, Stars, Rangers, Canadiens, and now he is with the Senators a second time. He has moved around due to playing well, and not poorly, although this year is probably the worst of his career. In 14 games his Save Percentage is .884, his GAA is 3.35, and he has yet to register a shutout. Bryan Murray made the right move in bringing Auld back for this year (based on his career and good performance last year in Montreal) but it has back-fired on him due to Auld’s less than stellar season. Murray and coach Paul MacLean should have sent Auld to the minors as a wake-up call and given Lehner more time with the Senators this year. Furthermore, MacLean is guilty of overplaying Anderson this year.

Lehner was given the call to start in net in this past Sunday’s game against the Islanders and he played outstanding, making 28 saves and being named the 1st Star of the game! Lehner is 20 years old and a big guy at 6' 3'' and 220 pounds. He is a little taller and heavier than fellow Swede Henrik Lundqvist. In the two games that Lehner has played in this year his Save Percentage is outstanding at .927 and his GAA is 2.00. I believe that he will become an elite goalie if they work with him properly and fairly, but I am worried about that due to Rick Wamsley being the goaltending coach. Please allow me to explain.

Wamsley was working for the Blues for four years prior to getting the goaltending coach position with the Senators in the summer of 2010. Brian Elliott had always played well for the Senators and in the 2009-2010 season (before Wamsley was there), in 55 games, his Save Percentage was .909, his GAA was 2.57, and he had 5 shutouts. Then Wamsley came and was working with Elliott and his numbers were not as good—but still better than Wamsley himself had ever done in the NHL. Anyway, the Senators decided to trade Elliott to the Avalanche for Anderson; and, I must state that the Avalanche went forth to make one of the worst decisions I have ever seen by not making an effort to sign Elliott after last year. He had only played 12 games for them and you can’t expect a guy to turn your team around in 12 games, and especially after a big move to Colorado! They knew he was a good goalie otherwise they would not have traded for him! It just does not make sense at all! The Blues, coincidentally Wamsley’s team before the Senators, jumped at the chance to sign Elliott and the rest is history! 

Anyway, Wamsley working with Lehner concerns me, and especially because Wamsley was a journeyman goalie who really belonged in the minors. In about 14 years in the NHL he never had a Save Percentage of .900 or over, and his career GAA is 3.34—brutal! Let us hope that Lehner doesn’t listen to him too much.

If I was coaching the Senators I would play Lehner right now and continue to play him because he is the best that the Senators have. If he has a bad game then let someone else have a start. Let Auld know that he is going to sit unless he works harder and plays better like he did for the Canadiens last year.

Who Got the Best Deal in the Trade?

Ottawa wanted a little extra security in net for the upcoming playoffs because Anderson might not play again this year. With Lehner in the system I really don’t think it was an emergency situation but Murray felt is was necessary. It was a safe move that does not cost the team much money and only one draft pick. Therefore, it was a good trade for Ottawa.

The Blues have Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak so they felt that it wouldn’t hurt them to trade Bishop and get some young talent in the 2013 draft. The Blues need some scoring forwards so it was a good gamble to do the trade.

In this trade it appears that both teams made the right move. 

TJ Stanley