When it comes to talking about the NHL’s elite goaltenders, the usual suspects will always get mentioned.
Guys like Andrei Vasilevskiy, Marc-Andre Fleury, Pekka Rinne, Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price, Devan Dubnyk, Tuukka Rask, John Gibson, and so on and so forth. It’s easy to see why these guys come up in most conversations regarding top goaltenders in the league.
With that said, there is one masked man this season that has flown under the radar. It could be because he doesn’t play in a big hockey market or that his team in general does not get mentioned much.
I am talking about Dallas Stars’ goaltender Ben Bishop. Bishop, 32, has been one of the best netminders in the league this season and yet, no one has really talked about him.
The numbers he has put up this season are outstanding. As of this writing Bishop is 25-14-2 with a 2.05 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and six shutouts.
In looking at goalie statistics throughout the NHL this season, here is where Bishop ranks:
– He is second in goals-against average
– He is first in save percentage
– He is tied for second in shutouts
– He is 13th in wins
Clearly, these numbers put him among the top goaltenders in the league this year. Sure, he has not played as many games as some of the other top masked men, but when he has played, he has been terrific.
Bishop has also been the main reason why his club is currently in a wild card spot in the Western Conference. As of this writing the Stars are holding down the first wild card spot with 82 points and are four points up on the Arizona Coyotes, who currently hold the second wild card spot.
Not only are the Stars in a playoff spot, but they are actually just two points behind the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Central Division. That’s pretty amazing considering that the team was inconsistent for a stretch of the season.
This is all because of Bishop’s strong play, especially in his last five starts. He is currently on a five-game winning streak and over the course of these five games, he has allowed just two goals.
That’s right folks. He has three shutouts in his last five games and in those five games, he has stopped 121 of 123 shots.
If you ask me, those stats are unbelievable. This is one of those magical stretches that can push a team over the top come April.
The truth of the matter is that Bishop has always been an above average goaltender. Sure, he has had a lot of injury issues, but when he’s played, he has put up good numbers as he currently has 199 career wins with a 2.31 goals-against average, a .920 save percentage, and 30 shutouts.
What’s also good for the Stars is that if they do make the playoffs, they have a guy that has put up terrific numbers in them in Bishop. In 36 career playoff games, Bishop is 21-13 with a 2.09 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage, and five shutouts.
That may be a small sample size, but it should not diminish what he has done in them. Heck, he got the Lightning to the Cup Final in 2015 where they ended up losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
This is a great goaltender, folks. It’s time that we start paying attention to him.