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Did Ben Bishop Just Reveal McPhee’s Strategy?

Ben Bishop, the stud goalie who started the season in Tampa Bay, was traded to Los Angeles in February, then had his negotiating rights traded to Dallas and eventually signed a long term deal with Stars, said in an interview that Vegas is thinking of going “younger and in a different direction.”

I think there was some talk of it from what I understood I didn’t think it was an option. I’m obviously not sure what they are going to do. From what I head they were kind of thinking maybe younger and in a different direction. -Ben Bishop in interview with Hockey Central at Noon

Alright, there’s a lot of questions on this one, and at the moment, I don’t have any of the answers, but let’s try to flush this out as best we can here.

Let’s start with the obvious. How does he know this? And… why does he know this?

Follow the timeline, Bishop entered this season on an expiring contract (set to become a UFA). Then, he goes to LA to close out the year. After the season ends, his right are traded to Dallas, because only the team holding his rights can negotiate with him, where he signed, nearly two months before July 1st, when he would have actually hit the open market.

George McPhee never had a chance to talk to him. He couldn’t even say his name without it being tampering, still can’t. Yet Bishop just spilled an interesting note about what the Golden Knights are thinking of doing for the future.

Who told him this? And could he possibly be right?

McPhee has made a few things clear from the beginning. Those include not taking on bad contracts, getting the most out of every Expansion Draft pick, building through the draft, and playing a fast skilled brand of hockey. Did Bishop read into that type of stuff and just assume he wouldn’t fit, or did someone actually tell him the Golden Knights are thinking younger at the goaltender position?

I’m not going to outright call Ben Bishop a liar, that would just be mean? But, I am going to say, there’s a better chance this is false info than it is he actually knows any bit of McPhee’s expansion strategy.

We are 100% sure George McPhee and Ben Bishop have not spoken since McPhee took the job in Vegas. So at the very best, he heard this directly from someone else and is now passing it on. And that’s highly unlikely because no one outside of the Golden Knights staff has any intimate knowledge of their strategy, and the chances of someone on the staff has told anyone who could relay it to Bishop is slim to none. So, the most likely case is someone advising Bishop took the info through a long game of telephone that he wouldn’t fit in the Golden Knights plan. Bishop believed it, ran with it, and signed with the Stars.

Could he be right? Absolutely. But should we go out and start speculating which young goalies the Golden Knight are now likely to pick, no. Heck, it’s even possible it was in McPhee’s plans to sign Bishop and he never had the chance, we’ll never know, and neither will Bishop.

But here we are, it’s out there, and it will certainly be a quote that will keep coming up over and over again. Plus this TSN article breaking down possible goalies is going to get a lot more clicks than the article you are currently reading. But nonetheless, I’m choosing not to read into it at all, and advise you to do so as well.

Instead, join me in being giddy over the other quote about Vegas he said one sentence later.

I think they are going to be a competitive team to start out with and it’s hard to say what type of team they are gonna be. It definitely seems like a great market and a neat city to play in. I definitely would have thought of the option if it was there. -Bishop

Vegas will be competitive, and a guy as good as Ben Bishop would have considered the option. Good enough for me.


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  1. Kevin

    As Bishop was slated to be a UFA, his agent would gauge the market to see possible fits. His agent would keep him informed of his options, especially when signing an extension in Dallas. Anyways, Bishop is just giving his opinion and is probably in a better position than most to speculate about the direction Vegas will take at the expansion draft (in regards to Goaltending). I like what McPhee has stated about the selection process at the expansion draft. There is no need to take on bad contracts and bail out other teams. There may be a few exceptions (Bobby Ryan might be worth the gamble if he is made available) but better to take young players (especially if they are still waiver exempt) and fill additional holes with free agents (like Shipachyov).

  2. James

    Who told him this? And could he possibly be right?

    Agents seem to know much more than they should. How do you think the Hockey Insiders get their inside information? Agents, front office personnel and players. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

    Bishop’s Agent: Would you have any interest in a 6 ft 7 goaltender for 6 years at $4.9 million AAV?

    George McPhee: No, we are kind of thinking of going younger and in a different direction. Let’s touch base soon.

    Tampering is very difficult to prove. There are various ways of getting around it

  3. James

    *Bishop’s Agent: Hypothetically speaking, of course

  4. Dave H

    I still believe Dean Lombardi made the trade for Bishop for the sole reason of trying to work out a deal with GMGM to trade negotiating rights to him on the cheap in exchange for taking Dustin Brown or Marian Gaborik in the expansion draft. And there is nothing illegal with the GM that owns your rights to talk to a player/agent about ‘what ifs’ in the course of trying to negotiate an extension. Its quite likely Bishops agent had talks with Lombardi about various options – including trading of rights to Vegas – and that got passed along to Bishop. Then when Blake took over, it either all changed, or Blake liked the 4th round pick better than any potential agreement with Vegas. No tampering at all there because the agent and player only spoke to the team owning their rights. And there is nothing illegal about that GM talking about possible/potential trades that may or may not include the player.

  5. Cody

    Not exactly a bombshell that McPhee will build a team that will mature together rather than duct taping together a 1994 Panthers style motley crew. And that every GM wants good young players you can keep that won’t bust the cap. And doesn’t want a big but slow goalie whose body will break down faster than a smaller guy.

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