The Ottawa Senators made a great move on Wednesday, as they sent goaltender Ben Bishop to the Tampa Bay Lightning for gifted young scorer Cory Conacher before the trade deadline. Scoring has been an issue for the Senators this season, and Conacher should have an immediate chance to contribute. Bishop was set to be a free agent at season’s end, and the Senators are still in good shape with Robin Lehner and soon-to-return star goaltender Craig Anderson.
Anderson’s return would have given the Senators three NHL-caliber goalies, so moving Bishop made sense. While he has performed admirably with Anderson out, Bishop might have priced himself out of Ottawa at season’s end. In 13 starts this season Bishop is 8-5-0 with a 2.45 goals-against average. Lehner has been spectacular this season, and sports a 3-2-4 record with a 2.15 goals-against average. The thought of sending him back to the AHL was apparently one the Senators weren’t thrilled about, and with Anderson returning Lehner will likely only see a handful of starts in the season’s final month. Anderson was 8-4-2 with a 1.49 goals-against average before suffering an ankle injury in February.
Conacher had nine goals and 24 points as a rookie for the Lightning this season, continuing to showcase the scoring prowess that made him the AHL MVP last season. He scored 39 goals and had 80 points to help lead the Norfolk Admirals to the Calder Cup championship last season, and had 12 goals and 28 points in 36 games for the Syracuse Crunch this season during the lockout. Conacher will help complete a second line that features two other great young scorers for the Senators in Jacob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad. The Senators are currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 44 points.