Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving says he did not try to land goaltender Ben Bishop before the Los Angeles Kings traded his rights to the Dallas Stars.
The Flames general manager admitted to the Calgary Sun's Eric Francis he had permission to talk to Bishop's agent last year at the draft, but said he made no such steps towards acquiring Bishop this year.
“I’ve heard I’ve tried to get him three or four times, which isn’t correct,” Treliving told the Sun. “We’re looking at goaltending, so it’s natural we’d be poking around. Did we look at it as an option? Yes. But the assumption we can make is that for the American guy who played minor league hockey in Texas coming to Calgary was probably not choice No. 1. And if he was, it was probably for a long time for a lot of dough.”
Bishop, who was slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July, signed a six-year, $29.5 million a few days after being traded to Stars. Francis reports the Flames inquired with the Kings on Bishop but were told Calgary was on his no-trade list.
Both Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson, who traded the starting role during the regular season, are slated to become unrestricted free agents in July. Jon Gilles, who picked up a win in his lone start during the season, is a restricted free agent.
“At end of the day, here’s where we’re at,” said Treliving. "If you want to go long-term on anyone, you’ve got to be careful on term and dollars. We have some young guys in the pipelines, but we also don’t want to expose them and they fail. Question is, is there someone out there we want to go long-term with?
“Do we stay where we are at? We’ve talked to both guys to get a sense of where they are at. We were really comfortable with how our goaltending shaped up this year. We went from 30th to 14th. Do we think the goaltending played up to its potential in the playoffs? Probably not. But let’s not forget, without those guys, we end the year a little earlier."
Elliott got the start in each of Calgary's four playoff games, but posted a save percentage of .880 and was pulled in the early minutes of Game 4 for Johnson after allowing one goal on three shots.
The goaltending market is expected to be flush with options this summer as teams look to move goaltenders they can't protect in the expansion for an asset.
"I’m not sure there are guys capable of 60 games," Treviling said of the goalies on the market, "so is there a guy who can play 50 games or a guy who hasn’t done it that should get the chance?”
“It’s such a critical position,” said Treliving, “but it’s also a volatile position.”