The other goalie fighting for a spot on the St. Louis Blues roster has some local blood and a lot of fan support. Ben Bishop is a St. Louis native and an original draft pick by the St. Louis Blues. Bishop has quietly been working his way up to the NHL and has seen time each of the last two seasons due to injuries to the goal-tending corps.
Last season, Bishop appeared in 7 games and posted a 3-4-0 record with a 2.77 goals against average and an .899 save percentage. While those numbers seem average, it doesn’t show the extreme ups and downs Bishop showed in the games he was in. In 3 of his losses, Bishop gave up an average of 5 goals a game against Calgary, New York, and Chicago. But in his other 4 games, Bishop stood on his head, allowing only 2 goals and recording his first career shut out.
Those games give a good description of Bishop’s early NHL career, as he is 4-5-1 overall with a 2.83 GAA and .896 save percentage. Bishop has shown flashes of brilliance while also having those young mistakes that plague every young net-minder. Bishop is at the point in his career where he is just a bit better then the AHL-level goalies but not yet on par with an NHL’er. Thus it may make sense for the Blues to finally make him the backup instead of playing in Peoria.
Bishop looked steady in his preseason debut, allowing 3 goals on 24 shots to a high powered Tampa power play, and should get at least one more chance to show the Blues what he has. Brian Elliott has done his part by showing he is capable of the back up position but I think its Bishop’s job to lose. If Elliott does win the job, another few months at Peoria will give Bishop and Jake Allen plenty of time to show their skills off as potential trade bait.
In the end, I don’t see the Blues trading away a goalie this year and Bishop will see significant time with club. When all is said and done, Bishop will have a decent record at 3-3-2 with a 2.87 GAA and .903 save percentage. Whether this is enough for the Blues to hang on to him for next season is going to be the question management will be forced to ask themselves before too long.