Former University of Maine standout goalkeeper Ben Bishop was on his way to Binghamton, N.Y., on Monday to play for his new team, the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators, on Tuesday night after being traded by the St. Louis Blues to the Ottawa Senators over the weekend.
“I’m excited. Obviously, it would have been nice if things had worked out in St. Louis but it didn’t so Ottawa is giving me a chance and I’m happy about it,” said Bishop, who is a St. Louis native.
“Ottawa is a great city and has a great tradition.”
The 25-year-old Bishop was traded for a second-round draft pick in 2013.
Bishop became expendable because St. Louis had NHL All-Star Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak and Bishop would have become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Ottawa starting goalie Craig Anderson recently underwent surgery on his hand after slicing his finger preparing food. Veteran Alex Auld and 20-year-old Robin Lehner, who was called up from Binghamton, are sharing the duties.
The 6-foot-7 Bishop, who was an AHL all-star this season, said he has signed a one-year contract extension with Ottawa for $650,000 per year.
Bishop was 24-14 with a 2.26 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage for Peoria in the AHL and was chosen the most valuable goaltender in the AHL all-star game by stopping 10 of 11 shots and all four shots in the shootout.
“I know I’m ready to move on to the NHL,” said Bishop, who did appear in 13 games in four years with the Blues and had a 4-5-1 record, a 2.83 GAA and a .896 save percentage. “It was like my junior year at Maine. After my junior year, I knew I was ready to move on [to pro hockey].
“I’m just going to take it day-by-day,” added Bishop, who expects to be called up by Ottawa as early as later this week.
He will be reunited with goalie coach Rick Wamsley, who is Ottawa’s goalie coach after coaching in the St. Louis organization.
“It’s always nice to see a familiar face in the locker room,” said Bishop. “He has been a big influence in my career. He taught me how to be a pro and he’s part of the reason I’m where I’m at right now.”