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Tampa GM Yzerman was interested in Bishop, rumored to covet Schneider

Mar 6, 2012, 2:50 PM EDT

yzerman tampa

Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times has an interesting piece on Lightning GM Steve Yzerman’s search for a goalie.

Ben Bishop, recently acquired by Ottawa from St. Louis for a second-round pick, will make his Sens debut Tuesday against the Lightning — an ironic debut, because Yzerman was one of Bishop’s chief suitors at the deadline.

“I did know that [the Lightning] were very interested going down the line,” Bishop said. “I don’t know how close they got, but it doesn’t matter who the opponent is, you just want to play well, especially in your first game.”

Upon learning Tampa Bay was interested in Bishop, Cristodero connected the dots:

  • Thanks to his deadline wheeling and dealing, Yzerman has a bunch of high 2012 draft picks (two first-rounders, three-second-rounders) and a conditional second-rounder (in 2012 or 2013, Florida’s choice.)
  • Ergo, Yzerman could’ve outbid the Senators.
  • Cristodero: “That he chose not to — Yzerman has said he wasn’t willing to give up a second-round pick — means there were either some red flags on Bishop’s resume (perhaps his lack of NHL experience) or that Yzerman is after another goalie (speculation is he likes Vancouver’s Cory Schneider).”

At 6-foot-7 and coming off a stellar campaign with AHL Peoria, Bishop is high on promise. But the allure of Schneider — who, through 60 career NHL contests, has posted a 32-15-4 record with a .925 save percentage and 2.34 GAA — is greater because he’s a proven commodity.

It’s worth noting that Schneider will become a restricted free agent at season’s end. While signing RFAs has traditionally been dicey/rare — only six have been inked since the lockout — Yzerman’s positioned to make a move. He’d be able to surrender Tampa’s picks (compensatory picks have to be originals, not acquired) yet still be active at the draft.

He could also paint Vancouver into a financial corner. From Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal:

According to CapGeek, the Canucks have a little over $55 million committed to next season already.  Between Pahlsson, Raymond and Salo they have more than $7 million coming off the books, and those players will all need to be replaced.  With Luongo earning north of $5 million, keeping Schneider for backup duty at that price-point could be a difficult decision to make.

In closing, I have to stress this idea is purely speculative. There’s no evidence Yzerman would go the offer sheet route, especially since several GMs consider it dirty pool.

  1. rca26 - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    There’s pretty rampant speculation in Tampa that Yzerman and Mike Gillis have been in talks on Schneider already. It seemed like he was shaping his war chest for something concrete during the deadline, and I doubt it’s a coincidence that Schneider got the start for Vancouver’s one trip to Tampa this season.

    A trade between the two has to be more likely than an offer sheet.

    • Mike Halford - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      From that same Edmonton Journal piece I cited, there was this:

      Why wouldn’t the Canucks just trade away Schneider, who would be bound to have more value on the trade market than a second round draft pick? According to article 10.3(b) of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, they would not have that option. In part:

      The Prior Club [i.e., the team matching the offer sheet] may not Trade that Restricted Free Agent for a period of one year from the date it exercises its Right of First Refusal [i.e. matches the offer sheet].

      Not sure how accurate that is (as much as I’d love to pour over the CBA), but I figured it warranted mention. Cheers.

      • ruddigervancity - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:56 PM

        I doubt Schneider will stay a Canuck long enough to receive an offer sheet. If I’m Gillis, the first day after the playoffs are over I announce that the phone lines are open and at the same time offer Scheids a fair but not outrageous contract with the carrot of a limited NTC. If he accepts, then you shop him among the limited number of teams, if he doesn’t then you’ve at least started the auction.

      • rca26 - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:57 PM

        Thanks for pointing that out. I wasn’t aware of that rule. That said, if anything, I think that puts the pressure on Gillis to move Schneider by July 1 unless he plans on matching any offer sheet. If that’s the case, it probably lends more credence to the rumor that he’s already been working on a trade to take place after the playoffs.

        The second half of June should be entertaining for fans of any team looking for a franchise goalie.

      • elvispocomo - Mar 6, 2012 at 10:32 PM

        It’s a pretty safe bet Gillis either moves Schneider at the draft or signs him to a 2 year deal. He could do a 1 year deal, but would be forced to move him at the deadline rather than let him become a UFA the following summer. With a 2 year deal, Gillis can move him at the deadline or next year’s draft if he doesn’t get the deal he wants before July 1st.

  2. rainyday56 - Mar 6, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    The Steve, keep your picks take Luo instead. Puh-lease?!

  3. AppealToReason - Mar 6, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Schneider’s gotten the start against a handful of teams this year that have goaltending issues. I don’t think it’s really a coincidence either.

  4. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Mar 6, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Steve wouldn’t dare put an offer sheet on anyone after no one did it to him with Stamkos.

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