Dallas Stars Fans Need To Trust Ben Bishop Signing

There seems to have been a surprisingly large amount of negativity floating around the Dallas Stars’ fan base ever since the Stars traded for goaltender Ben Bishop on Tuesday. That’s preposterous.

When a fan base is divided, nothing works out. Debating, arguing, and contrasting beliefs can lead to serious division within a franchise, leaving fans to take shots and form rivalries with each other.

And when that happens, the team itself cannot function at full strength. Fans are an essential piece to the core of every franchise.

And for the Dallas Stars, they are in the midst of turmoil. Every team’s fans have their minor quarrels every once in a while (especially when the offseason rolls around), but one particular player seems to be causing a sizable amount of raucous. That player is Ben Bishop.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Dallas Stars hit the gas on their offseason excursion when they traded a fourth-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for veteran goaltender Ben Bishop.

The trade was immediately met with plenty of praise, but uncertainty and remorse were also popular feelings among Stars fans.

Bishop was a pending UFA at the time of the trade, meaning the Stars still needed to sign him to a new contract. They did just that on Friday morning, locking him down on a six-year, $29.5 million deal.

And even after all of that, there was still negativity.

“Bad deal.” “Stars should have gone for a younger goalie.” “Waste of money.” “This doesn’t solve anything.” “Injuries galore.” These comments were just a few of the ones made in response to the Bishop trade/signing, and they left a lot of fans either discouraged or enraged. Cue the divide in Dallas.

But these comments are absurd. There are an overwhelming number of reasons that this move is a good one for the Dallas Stars and that fans should not only trust Bishop, but also trust management and how they handled the goalie problem.

It was evident that the Stars had a severe problem in the crease that needed to be handled immediately. This team is still in good position to contend, but their window is slowly shutting as some of their superstars grow older. So a goalie was an absolute necessity in the grand scheme of this offseason.

Instead of going the younger route and getting a Philipp Grubauer or Antti Raanta, Jim Nill extended his hand to an elite veteran in Bishop. The fact that Nill only lost a fourth round pick (that wasn’t even the Stars’ pick in the first place) for a prime NHL goalie is absolute larceny. Expansion draft influence or no, Dallas got away with much more than they paid for.

One of the first worries that Stars fans had after the trade was announced was the contract. How much would Dallas offer Bishop? How long would he be here? Reports had surfaced last offseason that the goaltender wanted somewhere around $6 million a year, which alarmed many Stars fans.

But the contract turned out to be significantly cheaper and longer than expected. Bishop wanted term while the Stars wanted cap space. The two sides agreed to negotiate on those parameters and came up with a cap hit of $4,916,667. It was a win-win for each party and officially brought Bishop in until the end of the 2022-23 season.

It’s also helpful that Bishop truly wants to be here. Sometimes in professional sports, players will be traded to a team they don’t truly care to play for (ex. Rajon Rondo, for all you Mavericks fans) and it shows. Their performance ends up costing the team overall. But Bishop is already dedicated to the franchise and excited to play in Big D.

“It had a lot to do with it, to be honest,” Bishop said about Dallas affecting his decision in signing. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play a few years in the league and now it’s about going somewhere where you think you have a chance to win and a good city. Dallas has both of that.”

“I think it’s a great team and has a lot of potential. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to sign here.”

He’s no stranger to Texas, considering he played for the Texas Tornado at age 18 before graduating from Frisco High School.

So far, so good? These are all qualities you want in a player that will be joining your franchise for the long run.

But what about when he is actually on the ice? Is he leaving his prime? Are his extensive number of injuries going to follow him to Dallas? Will he be able to have as significant of an impact as Stars fans want him to?

The fact of the matter is that Bishop will provide a sizable upgrade for the Stars’ crease. The duo of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi has not gotten the job done over the past two years and Bishop’s numbers are an indication that he will be able to turn the crease around. He’s a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist and his career stat line is nothing short of impressive: 148-80-25, .919 save percentage, 2.32 GAA.

According to Bishop, he is just now in the midst of his prime as an elite NHL player. He’s been considered a top-10 and even top-5 goalie in the league over the past few years, and age does not seem to be hindering him in any significant way. His play and level of compete is still highly respectable and does not need questioning. With a fresh start in Dallas and the weight of trade talks no longer bearing down on his mind, he might even find a way to reach new heights.

And then there are the injuries. This is perhaps the biggest worry for Dallas Stars fans. Why spend valuable cap space on a goalie who had somewhat of an off year last season and seems to get hurt on a regular basis? The truth is that he is not as injury prone as you may think.

Bishop has dealt with at least one injury in each of his past four seasons, spanning from groin issues to wrist injuries. But Bishop still managed to play in 60+ games in every one of those seasons except the most recent one. The injuries have simply been “unlucky” according to Bishop when asked about them by the Tampa Bay Times.

The injuries simply come along at the wrong time, typically near or during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and that’s why they receive so much coverage and attention.

Not to mention that most NHL players go through a stretch of injuries. Don’t forget that this past year was Tyler Seguin’s first to play 82 games as a Dallas Star. Injuries involving the Achilles, MCL, concussion-like symptoms, and his foot have all helped prohibit Seguin from playing an entire slate in a given season since coming to Dallas in July 2013. Call it bad luck if you want, but it’s the same case that Bishop has dealt with.

If Bishop is affected by a short-term injury this coming season, the Dallas Stars will have a backup that they can trust. That’s Kari Lehtonen, who could very well be the wisest and most skilled backup in the NHL come next season. If Bishop ever has a problem or is feeling off, Lehtonen will be able to come to his aid.

Dallas Stars fans seemed to be overwhelmingly insistent on doubting Nill and not trusting the move for Bishop. All of the above factors were cited as reasons for distrust, and some of them are valid.

But with every move and step towards greatness, there is plenty of risk. The ability to take risks is what separates the good teams from the great. Sometimes they cause a team to stumble and sometimes they pay off.

Hiring Ken Hitchcock was a risk in itself, but Nill went for that as well. So is trading for Bishop. But that’s what this game is all about. The Stanley Cup is never won by teams who play it safe. That frame of mind gets teams nothing but an early offseason.

In this case, it might be a good time for all of the doubters to start trusting Ben Bishop a little more. It seems as though the positive results will outweigh the potentially negative outcomes in this case.

He’s going to be here for a good while, so it might be a good idea to at least give him a shot and take a chance. It’s going to be an interesting ride either way.