Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

Report: The Flames missed out on Ben Bishop three times

There’s an old saying: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. When it comes to the Calgary Flames attempting to acquire goaltender Ben Bishop, it appears that trying repeatedly wasn’t a recipe for success.

Per a Twitter report by Kelowna Daily Courier reporter Larry Fisher, the trade that saw Bishop go from Los Angeles to Dallas today was the third time that the Flames failed to acquire the netminder.

A timeline

According to Fisher’s flurry of tweets, here were the three attempts:

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Prior to the 2016 NHL Draft, the Flames had a deal in principle agreed to with the Lightning for Bishop – it’s unclear what would have gone the other way, but presumably it would have involved the sixth overall pick – but the Flames balked at Bishop’s contract ask (reportedly seven years at $7 million per).

Prior to the 2017 trade deadline, Treliving made another run at Bishop and reportedly came to terms with Steve Yzerman with a package similar to the Kings’ offer – L.A. sent Peter Budaj, defensive prospect Erik Cernak, a seventh round pick and a conditional pick that varied based on how far the Kings went. (My speculation: the package probably would have included Chad Johnson, a defensive prospect such as Rasmus Andersson, Adam Fox or Brandon Hickey, and a similar assortment of conditional draft picks.)

But things went off the rails…

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This time, it seems that the Flames were close again but that Bishop preferred to go to Dallas. (Sportsnet’s John Shannon tweeted that Bishop had the Flames on his eight-team no-trade list, but presumably he waived it last year for things to get as far as they did.)

Wait, what?

If you’re me, the thing that makes you go “Hmmm…” is the notion that Ken King, the club’s CEO and point man on the ever-unfolding arena project, had the ability to approve trades. It’s also unclear, if the report is true, what precisely Brian Burke’s responsibilities are as President of Hockey Operations if King is approving trades.

Suddenly, all the chatter on local radio about “autonomy” factoring into Treliving’s contract negotiations begin to make a lot of sense.

Sum it up

As always, take reports like these with a grain of salt – for disclosure, Larry and I both also write for The Hockey Writers and I’m inclined to believe him given his track record – but it sure seems to fit with the bits and pieces of information that had been floating out there regarding Bishop, the Flames and Treliving over the past year or so.

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And given Bishop’s trade to Dallas, expect the rumour mill chatter regarding the Flames and Marc-Andre Fleury to escalate to even crazier levels than we’ve already heard.

  • Eggs Bennett

    Bullet dodged. Didn’t know about the Ken King on airplane fiasco. As fate would have it… this is a sign that we should be going after youth and potential instead of age and experience

  • Southboy

    I think we missed the boat bigtime on him. Would have solidified out goaltending for 5 years while we had our goalie prospects simmering in the AHL, and learning from an actual NHL caliber goaltender when they were backups.

      • Stu Cazz

        Agree! Flames would have wasted a draft choice as he never would have signed here. Apparently Flames were on his no trade list. Good riddens…this guy would have demanded term and huge dollars at a time when the Flames will have plenty of credible options….

      • Greatsave

        “Incredibly average”? I don’t get it Mike. Since the last lockout, Bishop has a .920 SV%, the same as Elliott had prior to joining the Flames. Fleury is a .917. Which is where Elliott is at now after last season. How does Bishop come off as “incredibly average”? He’s top-10 in SV% since the last lockout among goalies with 100+ games (42 of them in total).

        And for all the injuries he’s had, Bishop played 60+ games in three straight seasons. Yes he probably cost the Lightning a Cup along the way by getting injured in the playoffs, but at least he has a .927 SV% in 36 playoff games over that span. Better than both Elliott and Fleury. Again, how does he come off as “incredibly average”?

        Not to mention, Elliott was knocked recently in Roatis’ series (Part 1) for not delivering average goaltending, instead fluctuating between good and poor. Sounds like an “incredibly average” Bishop would be a good idea?

        All that said, I get that Bishop might not be worth the contract he’s seeking (what, $6m x 5 or more?). Between the three of them, I’d still go with Elliott, both for the contract and the track record. Bringing in a new goalie will mean another adjustment period similar to the one Elliott went through, meaning the team may not hit the ground running come October.

        • Flint

          Incredibly average he’s not, but overrated he is. And he is injury prone. Bishop hasn’t played much 5901evSa with a respectable .924evsv%. He’s 30 yrs old and he wants a massive contract. Why not trade for Halak who’s 31 (six months older), has a longer track record with 8942evsa, and you’d likely take him and get money back, or get him with a 5th rounder or something. His evsv%. 923. Basically the same as Bishop’s with a one yr contract. Way more flexibility on that going forward.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I think we would have pushed ourselves into a corner if we signed him. He has a good record when he’s playing but seems to get injured a lot. We need a 2 yr stop gap that can steal games….enter Mike Smith or MAF.

      • I’m sick and tired of seeing this; and it’s nothing personal. Why do we constantly need to just get “stop gaps”? Just so we can be greeted – presumably – with another conundrum of whether or not they’ll do the job until Gillies or Parsons can do the job? Why hold out for that? Why not target someone like Raanta – if possible – to just be the option for longer than a short period of time?

        The team is quickly approaching it’s competing/win now window. Why not go after a goalie that can last longer than a season or two and make an effort? I mean, the best case scenario is you acquire a guy like Raanta, he does well/plays above his contract, and you get success while the kids develop?

        In that scenario – which is very much hypothetical – even if Raanta has cemented himself and you need to move a goalie prospect (again hypothetically) for another piece to extend the window then why not? This organization and a majority of the fans are seemingly attached to this belief that a stop gap until the kids are ready is the only way. Well what happens if they don’t arrive on time? Then the team is back in the same spot, again, like the team has since Kiprusoff exited his prime.

        I get *why* fans want to see Gillies or Parsons down the road, but I feel like it glosses over the win now window they’re entering. If they don’t act fast by getting someone who can play – and probably stick around long enough – then they’ll miss the window.

        • Greatsave

          I largely agree with this. A huge reason the Flames came within an inch of the Cup in ’04 was because they nabbed Kiprusoff, not because they groomed a goalie in their system. There’s no reason at this point to think (or wait until) Gillies/Rittich/Macdonald/Parsons pan out. If you can bring in someone right now who becomes the next Kiprusoff, you deal with the Fleury/Murray situation if/when it arises.

          Raanta/Grubauer/Pickard are in the right age group, while Saros/Korpisalo are a bit on the younger side. Why haven’t we heard more about Domingue/Subban/Nilsson/Kuemper/Kinkaid/Dell?

    • BringtheFire

      Maybe you’re right. But however King’s decision train started (dubiously, with Burke), it ended with the hiring of Treliving, and now Treliving reportedly has the keys to the kingdom. I’ve been a Flames fan since 1987 and I’ve never been happier about our GM.

      The best owners give their GM the budget and walk away for the year. If King has done that here and now, I’ll be willing to forgive his many previous missteps.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I am fine with a cheap motivated Elliott with an under appreciated Rittich. A good sports psychologist will help Elliott with the Yips. Rittich was able to lick down games in AHL with 5 shutouts in a back up role. Gillies on the other hand may not be focused enough to be a back up yet.

  • buts

    Too many cooks spoil the broth…..and having KK who can talk for an hour and not say a thing, involved is very disturbing. BT is a lot better than I thought if he needed KK’s consent. Having said that Bishop would have not been the answer. I hope they get one of Murray, Raanta, Grubauer, MAF or Korpisalo

    • jakethesnail

      Agrred! But he might not sign with Dallas and their tire-fire defence…and not a team even close to making the playoffs….and the rumours of Flames interest in Bishop will re-surface…

  • RKD

    Totally ridiculous BT would have to get Ken King’s approval, if Burkie is president of hockey ops and has said he has the final say on all hockey transactions why does it need to go up again to no knowledge of hockey self admitted businessman King. Bishop would be very expensive and is going to be looking for a lot of term if he declines or falters that contract would become an albatross in a hurry. We still have a shot at a guy like Raanta.

    • TheoForever

      Ken King making the final decision, haha funny stuff. Everything starts and stops with Murray Edwards. Some think that meddling owner is a bad thing, and that the owner should stay away from hockey decisions. Edwards is not the type of a guy to sit on the fence, and let guys spend his money the way they see it fit. It looks like the owner actually saved Tre on several ocassions. One Bishop trade inolved 6th, another inolved two 2nds and Buckland. Imagine signing an aging goalie to 6/7 year deal in the 40 million range. Another trade apparently involved Segan for Johnny and a 6th.

  • freethe flames

    Cap wise missing out on Bishop was probably a good thing. While $21m seems like a lot of cap space the Flames have a lot of holes to fill. It is going to take at least $7m to sign or own UFA’s, then at least another $7m to add to skaters (this includes a legit #4 defender) and then likely $7m for the two goalies. Unless BT can do a salary dump in a trade ie Brouwer as part of MAF deal then the Flames are better of looking at acquiring the youngsters. Raanta at $1m for next year sounds like a real option (even if he can’t be a starter at this price he is an affordable back up and he likely could be gotten for less than the 3rd we will give up to resign BE); signing a guy lie Condon as a FA would also not be expensive. (even if you tripled his current salary he still would be under $2m) He was a big part of the reasons the Sen’s even made the playoffs this year; over the last 2 seasons he has played over 90 games; enough in my mind to suggest he could play in a tandem with Raanta or one of the other young goalies mentioned.

    Hopefully BT gets some of his business done prior to the expansion draft. Ideally I would like to see them acquire a goalie and to get their own RFA’s signed by then.

  • Flint

    It’s funny how some teams never learn. Carolina has bad goaltending, they go out and way overpay for a high risk Darling. Dallas two boat-anchor contracts, one a often injuredcand streaky, never quite got to elite Lehtonen… just triple down on that error with Bishop. Fool me once…

  • Greg

    It wouldn’t surprise me if a president has to approve transactions given the financials involved. But I can’t buy a story that says KK was in the air and unavailable during trade deadline.

  • Backburner

    I could see why Treliving would go after Bishop.. but this is a blessing in disguise. I would rather see the Flames spend the money elsewhere.. a top four D and top line RW.