BUFFALO, NY — The Buffalo Sabers acquired goaltender Ben Bishop in a trade from the Dallas Stars on Friday as part of a salary cap paperwork move involving a veteran who is no longer expected to play due to from a degenerative right knee injury.
The Sabers add the final year of Bishop’s contract, which represents a nearly $5 million cap to raise their payroll closer to the NHL’s $60 million minimum. Buffalo, which also acquired a seventh-round pick in next month’s draft, would need to be nearly $20 million under the cap before acquiring Bishop.
The Stars, meanwhile, have acquired future considerations from Buffalo to free Bishop’s salary from their books to provide more flexibility to re-sign and add players this offseason.
There is no anticipation of Bishop, 35, returning to play.
Without saying he’s retiring, Bishop announced his career was over in December after a 2½-year saga dealing with injury. The decision came after the three-time Vezina Trophy finalist allowed eight goals during a minor league rehab stint only to swell his ailing knee.
The injury first developed in a seven-game second-round loss to St. Louis in the 2019 playoffs, which led to him having surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The pain persisted the following year, with follow-up surgery revealing the cartilage in the knee was all but worn away.
“I guess one of the hard things is I go there and I still feel pretty good in some of the practices and you still feel like you have the skills to play in that league,” said Bishop, who is from Denver and grew up playing youth hockey in St. Louis. “But when your knee tells you you can’t, it’s hard.”
Bishop hasn’t played in the NHL since allowing four goals on 19 shots in a 6-3 loss to Colorado in the second round of the 2020 playoffs.
Overall, Bishop is 222-128-36 across five teams over 11 seasons starting with St. Louis in 2008-09. He also played for Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles.
In 2015-16 with the Lightning, Bishop led the NHL with a 2.06 goals-against average.
At 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds, Bishop was the tallest goaltender in the NHL and was selected by the Blues in the third round of the 2005 draft.