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Ben Bishop gives Kings another No. 1 goalie

Los Angeles not taking any risks in net with Jonathan Quick just returning from groin injury

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / NHL.com Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi apparently wasn't content to have merely one Vezina Trophy finalist, goaltender Jonathan Quick, on the roster.

For a player of Ben Bishop's accomplishments, the Kings did not give up much to acquire the former Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender on Sunday, when Los Angeles acquired Bishop and a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft for goaltender Peter Budaj, prospect Erik Cernak, the Kings' seventh-round pick in 2017 and a conditional draft pick in 2017. 

The most it could be is a second-round pick, but multiple conditions would have to be met.

Bishop and Quick finished second and third, respectively, in voting in 2016 behind Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals. This season, Bishop is 16-12-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. Of late, he has been extra sharp, winning his past five starts while allowing six goals.

At first glance, the move, or at least the timing, appeared curious, considering Quick made a winning return to the lineup on Saturday in a 4-1 victory against the Anaheim Ducks. Quick had been out since the opening night of the season after sustaining a groin injury.

Video: Jon Rosen on the Ben Bishop trade, more Kings moves

Still, there are no guarantees when it comes to recovery, and the Kings weren't willing to take that gamble.

"There's a number of concerns," Lombardi said. "No. 1, you're never sure how well a guy who has been out this long … is he going to have his A game, so to speak, or not. These types of injuries, which are fairly serious, the history of comebacks can go either way."

Additionally, the Kings have a condensed schedule with several back-to-back situations down the stretch, including Monday at the Minnesota Wild and Tuesday at the Calgary Flames, and are in the midst of a tight race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference. The Kings trail the St. Louis Blues by three points for the second wild card.

Bishop, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, isn't coming to Los Angeles to sit on the bench and merely enjoy the good life in Manhattan Beach.

"This is not an insurance policy," Lombardi said. "He needs to play. We looked at the schedule. Preferably, I would have been able to do this deal two weeks ago, but this is just the way trade deadline deals seem to work.

"Every game down the stretch is critical. Let's face it, there's not a lot of room here for error. We just want to take that out of the equation to make sure we have a No. 1 goalie in there every night."

Video: EDM@TBL: Bishop robs Letestu's tip-in attempt

Budaj helped keep the Kings afloat during Quick's extended absence and is tied for the League lead with seven shutouts. But coach Darryl Sutter had been critical of Budaj in recent weeks, and the Kings lost six of their past eight games before Saturday.

"I think it's probably safe to say with going down the stretch here, we feel we better have a No. 1 in goal every night is probably what it comes down to," Lombardi said. "Peter did a good job for us, stopped what you're supposed to stop. But I think if you're looking at these last 24 games, some of the things in particular I saw the last couple weeks, probably the aim was make sure we have a No. 1 in there every night."

Sutter likes to play his top goalie, and then some. He was that way in Calgary a decade ago with Miikka Kiprusoff and here with Quick, who played 72 games in 2014-15 and 68 games last season.

Those days of doing that with Quick, 31, are over, Lombardi said.

Video: ANA@LAK: Quick absorbs Cogliano's short-side attempt

"I think that's totally impractical," Lombardi said. "No. 1, I don't think it's the best way to break in a guy who's been out this long, and you look at the condensed schedule of three (games) in four nights. And, No. 2, quite frankly, I don't think it's good at any time. I think the days of playing Jon Quick 70 games like we did two years ago, makes no sense, in terms of not only letting him play at his best but also making sure that you have a player of his caliber extending his career and not wearing him out."

On Friday, the Kings had Budaj and Jeff Zatkoff. By Sunday, they had upgraded significantly in goal to Quick and Bishop.

"The Kings are better in goal than we were two days ago," Sutter said via email to NHL.com. "Keeps both guys fresh and ready to go every night especially with schedule and position we are in, as well. Both guys are real receptive to it, which to me is just as important."

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