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Analysis: Bishop Signing Solidifies Bolts in Net

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

When the Tampa Bay Lightning acquired goaltender Ben Bishop from the Ottawa Senators earlier this month, general manager Steve Yzerman made it clear his intention to sign Bishop, a pending restricted free agent, for the long haul beyond just this season.

On Monday, Yzerman came through on his word, signing Bishop to a two-year contract extension.

"Moving forward, we really believed he would solidify our goaltending," Yzerman said. "The idea was to get him signed, which was always our intention, so now we look to move into next season with both Ben and Anders Lindback. They are both relatively young, and they each have tremendous upside."

The Lightning agreed to a two-year contract extension with Ben Bishop Monday

Bishop has only played in six games with the Lightning since coming over from the Senators on April 3, posting a 2-3-1 record with a 3.21 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. It didn't take long, however, for the 6-foot-7 netminder to make an early, not to mention memorable, lasting impression.

Bishop pitched a 45-save shutout in his team debut, and followed that up with several strong games in subsequent appearances, allowing no more than three goals against in each of his past four starts in a Bolts sweater.

It was an impressive start, but merely a small sample size on which to build looking towards the future, beginning next season.

By signing Bishop to an extension on Monday, Yzerman put into motion the first steps of his plan to create some healthy competition between both Bishop and Lindback for the number-one starting job next season.

The idea is to have each goaltender feed off the other, while at the same time, split duties to alleviate one another of some of the pressure and workload that goes along with the starting role. According to Yzerman, such a plan will allow both Bishop and Lindback to both work and grow at his own pace.

"Over the course of an entire season, it will give both of them an opportunity to play," Yzerman added. "Having two guys with great potential, they'll now both be able to develop into the goaltenders we think they can become."

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