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Los Angeles Kings Make Surprising Move to Get Goalie Ben Bishop

Peter Budaj and prospect Erik Cernak head the other way.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to upgrade their team as it approaches the stretch run, the Los Angeles Kings have grabbed the best available... goaltender?

With the price for forwards looking very steep indeed, LA came out of nowhere to make a very different move, acquiring goaltender Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

My initial thought was that the Kings paid a bargain price for Ben Bishop. Bishop has posted a .921 save percentage in his four seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning. To acquire a bona fide starting goaltender, the Kings gave up their backup — who has played well this season, mind you — and a defensive prospect.

(As for Peter Budaj: thanks for keeping the Los Angeles Kings afloat for four months. Harsh business, hockey.)

My second thought was that the Kings paid a... price... for Ben Bishop, Backup Goaltender. If Jonathan Quick stays healthy and Bishop plays five games for the Kings, then no matter what the Kings do, they might not have needed to make this deal. Upgrading from Zatkoff to Budaj to Bishop is nice, but unless Darryl Sutter intends on taking it easy on Quick over the rest of the season, it might be considered an overpayment.

My third thought was... what the heck is that conditional pick going to be?

I’m assuming 2nd means a Cup. So it seems like every round of the playoffs the Kings get through probably means that pick gets a round higher, and if Bishop is a reason for it that might up the value. We’ll wait and see though.

My fourth, and final, thought: is there more here? Bishop could be a very valuable acquisition for any playoff team that needs a goalie. With only three days left until the trade deadline, does Bishop help LA get another forward? It seems unlikely, especially since the Kings probably weren’t in the running for a big-time forward at the deadline anyway. But Bishop could, hypothetically, help a number of other teams even more than he helps the Kings.

Even with Bishop, the Kings have options, though. Especially with Tampa Bay hanging on to a bit of Bishop’s cap hit.

According to Cap Friendly, LA has a little over $3.3 million of deadline cap space. Let’s see if they use it.