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Bishop wants to stay with Lightning

Goalie, Vezina Trophy finalist says he won't 'look at big picture,' 'we'll see what happens'

by Bill Price @BillPriceNHL / Editor in Chief

LAS VEGAS -- With the NHL's Board of Governors voting on expansion Wednesday and the possibility of a team being awarded to Las Vegas, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie and Vezina Trophy finalist Ben Bishop couldn't help think about what playing in this city would be like. 

"It's a great city. Great spot to play, and come visit," Bishop said at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas on Tuesday. "I think their home record might be pretty good. I'm looking forward to eventually sometime playing out here." 

But with one year remaining on a contract extension he signed in 2014 and the potential for an expansion draft following next season, the 29-year-old Bishop, in town for the NHL Awards on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, Sportsnet), said he didn't want to look at "the big picture."

"You just worry about playing game by game," said Bishop, who along with Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings is up for the award given to the League's top goalie. "I think it's a good thing if teams are out there that want you, it means you are playing well. I'm not really focused on that right now, I'm just enjoying these awards, and worry about the first game and go from there."

Video: Ben Bishop on Vezina Trophy Nomination

Bishop had a stellar 2015-16 season, going 35-21-4 with a League-leading 2.06 goal-against average and a .926 save percentage, which was second only to Brian Elliott (.930) of the St. Louis Blues. He led Tampa Bay to the Eastern Conference Final for the second straight year, but sustained a lower-body injury in Game 1 and didn't play again. Andrei Vasilevskiy replaced him and got Tampa Bay to a Game 7 where it lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.

After the season ended, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman admitted at some point he will have to make a decision between Bishop and Vasilevskiy.

"I think we have two elite starting goaltenders," Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times. "Vasy is young and he hasn't had that track record, but he's just showing he can start now on a really good team. At some point, whether it's expansion, the cap or we've got two guys that need the net, I'm going to have to make a decision. I can't tell you if it's tomorrow or a year from now."

Bishop has been moved before. He started his career with the Blues, who traded him to the Ottawa Senators. They traded him to Tampa Bay after two seasons. Bishop said any transaction this time around would be different.

Video: TBL@PIT, Gm1: Bishop kicks out left pad to make stop

"I think the first couple of teams I wasn't really established yet, so now I don't think it's 'Tampa wouldn't want you' but more a financial decision," Bishop said. "With the salary-cap era you can't keep everybody. We'll see what happens."

Bishop did make it clear, though, that he wants to stay with Tampa Bay.

"We have a great team down there, it's a great place to play and we've been winning and that makes everything a lot better," Bishop said. "I've enjoyed my time there and hopefully can enjoy it longer."

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