by PuckStopsHere on 01/17/14 at 12:31 AM ET
It was just before Christmas when I last picked Tuukka Rask as the Vezina Trophy leader as top goalie this season in the NHL. While Rask is having a good season, he has been clearly surpassed by Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Bishop is posting a remarkable .938 saves percentage and a 1.80 GAA. These are the best numbers in the NHL by a significant margin. This makes Bishop our surprise Vezina Trophy leader.
When this season began, Bishop was expected to battle with Anders Lindback for Tampa Bay's number one goaltending job. He has clearly won it. At age 27 he wasn't a clear NHL starter before this season. He played a career high 22 games last season, which isn't a number that puts him on the Vezina Trophy radar.
The interesting thing is Bishop was traded to Tampa Bay from Ottawa last season for Cory Conacher. Conacher currently has four goals this season. That trade is quickly becoming the biggest mistake made in the 2013 NHL season and yet those who made the mistake have not had to face that mistake. Ottawa GM Bryan Murray, who traded him, just signed a new contract that keeps him in Ottawa through 2016. You would think the Sens might want to take a second thought before locking up the guy who traded the top goalie in the league this year. Assistant GM Tim Murray (Bryan's nephew) got a promotion despite whatever part he played in the deal. He is now the Buffalo Sabres GM. You would think that trading Bishop for such a small return would have made the Sabres think twice (if nepotism didn't).
Ben Bishop has been the best goalie in the league so far this season. This is a surprise. I don't think anyone seriously expected that. Nevertheless, I think his trade last year was a poor move for the Ottawa Senators - and many people should have seen that. Despite that poor trade, the people who made it are getting promotions and new contracts. Why doesn't that make sense?
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